The Life and Death of Planet Earth: How the New Science of Astrobiology Charts the Ultimate Fate of Our World
The Life and Death of Planet Earth How the New Science of Astrobiology Charts the Ultimate Fate of Our World Author:Peter D. Ward, Donald Brownlee Planet Earth is middle-aged. Science has worked hard to piece together the story of the evolution of our world up to this point, but only recently have we developed the understanding and the tools to describe the entire life cycle of a planet-of our planet. Peter Ward and Don Brownlee, a geologist and an astronomer respectively, are in the vangu... more »ard of the new field of astrobiology. Combining their knowledge of how the critical sustaining systems of our planet evolve through time with their understanding of how stars and solar systems grow and change throughout their own life cycles, the authors tell the story of the second half of Earth's life. The process of planetary evolution will essentially reverse itself; life as we know it will subside until only the simplest forms remain. Eventually, they too will disappear. The oceans will evaporate, the atmosphere will degrade, and, as the sun slowly expands, Earth itself will eventually meet a fiery end. In this masterful melding of groundbreaking research and captivating, eloquent science writing, Ward and Brownlee provide a comprehensive portrait of Earth's life cycle that allows us to understand and appreciate how the planet sustains itself today, and offers us a glimpse of our place in the cosmic order.« less
I read it to the bitter end, which, depending on your viewpoint, is either the oceans evaporating or the red giant stage of the sun. It's a depressing read, although logically, I'm not sure why. They use the bell curve model to describe the habitabilityand diversity of the earth, and they claim we are on the way down now. These guys don't put much stock in our descendents hopping from habitable planet to habitable planet to escape our demise.