We all know the sun is important for life on Earth. Without it, there would be no heat or energy to power life. So how long could life on Earth survive without our sun? The answer might surprise you.
Could we the dominant and most intelligent species on Earth, with our knowledge, science and ingenuity, find a way to prepare or adapt?
The light and heat from the sun takes around 8 minutes to reach Earth, so we wouldn’t know anything was amiss, for at least 8 minutes. Once we realised the sun was gone, and that we as a species and planet, were in real trouble, what could we do.
Surprisingly, we wouldn’t immediately die as some might suspect. In fact while it would start getting cold straight away, the planet would continue to retain heat for a long time and we would have some time to adapt.
If we were fast, and organised, we could burrow under the ground and create habitats for ourselves and potentially survive for many years. The problem is, eventually the surface of the planet would be completely inhospitable.
The oceans would freeze, the atmosphere would thin, freeze and be lost. We would essentially be living on borrowed time as much of our population would have succumbed to the harsh environment, and only a small percentage would have made it under ground.
Of those, much of the necessary knowledge and skills may have already been lost, but assuming the best possible outcomes, even so, without plants and animals in abundance as they were on the surface the odds of our survival quickly approach zero.
How Long Could Life On Earth Survive Without Our Sun?
The answer is simple and stark. It’s also the same answer to the question, how long can we survive if we trash Earth’s environment and destroy our own habitat.
The answer is measured in months.
With all the galaxies and stars we have mapped, to date, we have found only one habitable planet in the known universe: Earth.
Sadly, without Earth in its current fertile form, and based on our current level of technology and science, the human race would not survive, and nor would any other organisms on our planet. This is a sobering thought, but also provides some clarity about how important our ecosystem is to our species.
We really need to look after our planet and our environment because as a species we can not even survive yet on another planet or moon without the resources of Earth to assist us.
The undertaking of support a few people on Mars for example, is a herculean task that is still years away. It’s also why we haven’t yet colonised our moon, by far our closest celestial neighbour.
Even if we were to find another habitable world in another solar system, we lack the technology and the resources to reach it.
Perhaps in the distant future we could build massive intergalactic generational ships that would allow us to bridge those vast distances over thousands of generations. That’s assuming we ever find another habitable world.
However, currently, if we destroy our habitat, there are no alternatives, there is no plan B. Addressing global warming should be our very highest priority, immediately, because what other alternative is there?