When Will Our Planet Run Out of Oxygen

When Will Our Planet Run Out of Oxygen

One day, the entire human race will be history if it doesn’t find a way to move to another planet. About 5 billion years from now, the Sun will expand so much that it will unleash its devastating heat upon Earth. But until that moment, there’s another problem that we should think about: losing all the oxygen from the planet, as well as the ability to create it through photosynthesis.

EarthSky.org writes about the work of Kazumi Ozaki from the University of Tokyo and Chris Reinhard of Georgia Tech. They undertook the research as part of the NExSS program of NASA to explore exoplanets’ habitability. The scientists worked on modelling biological, climatic, and geological systems of Earth to understand how future atmospheric conditions will be in the far future.

There won’t be any oxygen on Earth in one billion years

The new research brings the sad news that all the plants from Earth will be history in one billion years due to the Sun heating up and creating a much hotter atmosphere. With the plants out of the picture, this obviously means that there’s nothing else available to create oxygen.

When the great depletion of oxygen begins, it will need about 10,000 years to get the job done. Reinhard explains:

The drop in oxygen is very, very extreme; we’re talking around a million times less oxygen than there is today.

Earth will also be dealing with a rise in methane levels until they’ll be around 10,000 times higher than in the present. The ozone layer will vanish, and ultraviolet light and heat will kill all life except for microbes.

Reinhard concluded:

A world where many of the anaerobic and primitive bacteria are currently hiding in the shadows will, again, take over.

The new study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience.



Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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