Research, Technology

Will Earth ever leave the solar system?

Our Sun, unfortunately, is not eternal.Sooner or later it will surely die. But long before that moment, the star will turn into a red giant and burn our planet. True, this will only happen if the Earth remains in its orbit. In 2020, the Chinese magazine Science Fiction World published a short story by author Liu Cixin called The Wandering Earth. According to its plot, the leaders of the countries decided to take the Earth out of the solar system in order to save it from destruction. This, of course, is fiction, but can our planet really leave its orbit and end up outside the solar system? Scientists say that this is unlikely, which means that it is not completely excluded. But how can this happen?

The Earth could theoretically de-orbit and leave the solar system

How can the Earth get out of its orbit?

The orbit of the Earth is, in fact, the path of our planetaround the sun. The force of gravity forces the Earth to move along the same route. It follows that in order for the planet to leave its orbit, an even more powerful force must act on it than the force of gravity. But where can you get one?

According to scientists, the Earth may be shifted fromits orbit under the influence of a large interstellar object. Flying through the solar system at a relatively short distance from our planet, it will exchange energy with the planet. If this celestial body flies at a very high speed, while being massive, it can not only displace the planet from its orbit, but also “pull” it out of the solar system.

However, the probability that this event will occur issmall. According to the Sharif University of Technology, the probability that the Earth will deorbit is 1 in 15,000. Moreover, they were able to find out that out of 10,000 Earth-like planets, only one deorbits.

The probability that the Earth will deorbit is 1 in 15,000

According to some astronomers,as a result of the approach of another star to the solar system, the Earth will receive a "gravitational flow" from it. True, this energy is not tangible for our planet. However, if the event is repeated, the Earth will go out of its orbit. True, this does not mean that it will completely leave the solar system.

Timothy Davis, Senior Lecturer in Physics andastronomy at Cardiff University in the UK, has its own hypothesis of how the Earth could be outside the solar system. In his opinion, if the Sun collides with another star, the gravitational interactions of both bodies will disrupt the orbits of the planets, including the Earth. As a result of this event, our planet could potentially be pushed out of the solar system.

When can the Earth de-orbit?

According to scientists, the stars are constantly moving.Their movements are observed even within our galaxy. Each of these stars, if it passes near the solar system, can destabilize the orbits of the planets. However, this is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future.

Star Gliese 710 will come close to the Sun in a million years

For example, it is known that the star Gliese 710 shouldclose enough to the Sun (by astronomical standards). But it will happen in about a million years. However, even Gliese 710 is unlikely to affect the orbits of the planets in the solar system.

Surely many people have a question, is it possibleartificially displace our planet from orbit and take it out of the solar system? This will require tremendous energy. It should be equivalent to a sextillion (a figure with 21 zeros) of megaton nuclear bombs, which should explode at the same time.

What will happen to the Earth if it goes out of orbit?

If our planet leaves the solar system, it willwill fly in interstellar space until it is captured or absorbed by another star or even a black hole. At the same time, most of life on Earth will perish, and possibly all life. The fact is that without solar energy, most likely, our planet will not be able to maintain its atmosphere.

As we move away from the Sun, our planet will freeze.

But, even if we imagine that the Earth will saveatmosphere, life is unlikely to survive on the planet. All the energy that living organisms need comes either directly or indirectly from the Sun. For example, plants feed on the energy of the Sun directly, animals feed on plants.

In addition, as the Earth moves away from the Sun, itwill cool until completely frozen. The temperature will drop to -230 degrees Celsius. Even if some life lingers on the planet, it will still be doomed. Therefore, it is unlikely that humanity will be able to leave the dangerous zone of the solar system together with the planet. Moving to another planet with suitable conditions for life seems more realistic. According to some scientists, Pluto could become a suitable planet for life. According to scientists, such a scenario is possible in 5 billion years.