This was a question out to a journalist about the New Horizons mission to Pluto!
I have always been aware that there are people that ask this out there, Christ, I been have one in my family. But their naivety around me so much that I never want to bother giving then an answer.
If they are religious, fanatically so, I certainly won't bother because they will argue with my answer. They are not worthy of an answer because they will only attempt to belittle you with bizarre beliefs they simply cannot back up and science had proved completely wrong for decades now.
This is because there is one simple answer, an answer and details that this particular journalist misses time after time.
The Earth won't stay habitable forever.
In fact I can do as far as stating that though most astronomers would read this and think 'yeah 5 billion years' automatically I would answer 'no, no, NO'.
That figure was always a wild guess with no science to back it up. We have never looked inside our closest star and have no data to base this on.
The sun is far, far more complex and mysterious than Pluto and look how many surprises that had in store.
It's a stab in the dark at best and always has been.
But that's not really the issue here. The answer is not even relevant to the question of how long the Earth will be habitable for. Because in what would essentially be a blink of an eye in comparison a dozen other things would have taken place.
Global Warming continuing unabated (too hot)
Global Pandemic that proves untreatable
If I thought long enough I could probably add more.
These things must certainly will happen and in the blink of an eye compared to the sun turning into a Red Giant star.
We stay here indefinitely ... we die. Become extinct. Fact!
Manned space travel had barely grazed the surface of possibilities and so had the technology. Even after all this time.
Now imagine ...
We find out tomorrow that a Comet will wipe out life on Earth in a strike that week take place in five years time?
Firstly do you think we can create the technology and build enough space ships or satellites for people to survive the blast in those five years?
Not a bloody chance!
We also would be hard pushed to predict a strike from space five years before it happens. But then you could make the prediction ten years ahead of time and the outcome would be the same.
Now ever since I was a kid I have wondered whether we would be and to travel through space in decent numbers before a global extinction event ever took place? I was not sure and as we have not had men walk on Mars as predicted by science teachers when I was a kid I an far less certain than I was back then.
Our only hope, no there no excuses, is that one of these global events takes so long to occur we would have made ask the pigeon steps to save ourselves?
It also completely and utterly infuriates me, almost as much as the bollocks religious argument, that they point the finger of wasting money on space travel!
All the ducking wars that have gone on, the defence budgets, the public services, governing bodies and governments doing fuck all or fucking things up and they point the fingers at space exploration and travel?!
The word that springs to mind when I read questions like that either begin with 'T', end in 'K' and have 'HIC' in the middle or something even more insulting! Because they seem to think that the world's problems can be solved by throwing even more money at it than we have done for the past three decades?!
Yes!! Of course it will you blithering idiots! Lol!
I really do not want to associate with people like that, really I do not!
After a global event wiping out everyone leaving few survivors I would not want to be in any sized party with people that are that naive. I would simply move on because these are the people that would get you killed with that narrow minded kind of thinking. Probably think that all life is wonderful and God created it this way?
No, it is most certainly not and no he did not and if you knew anything about life at all you would know the statement is not only false but utterly ridiculous.
My bloody GOD! I get so annoyed with how narrow minded people can be, I really do! It's like feeding a Locust to a frog in a vivarium. The Locust almost always ends up in the water if not eaten by the frog. It then totally ignores the land section with shallow water and keeps kicking itself headfirst into the corner of a tank like it's suddenly going to magically work with one out of the fifty kicks before it drowns! Turn left and kick a couple of times and it's saved from drowning. But, no ... it will continue to headbutt the wrong end of the cage until our perishes.
That's the word that pops into my head when I hear religious fanatics and hopelessly native people ... 'LOCUSTS', or the human version of.
You want to believe that utter rubbish then go right ahead ... but please don't alert everyone to tour narrow mindedness and naivety by asking out loud on the Internet very stupid questions!
New Horizons: Why bother exploring the Solar System? - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-33569565