For over 4 billion years, terrestrial life has survived and thrived.
But as time passes, future catastrophes will afflict planet Earth.
As the sun ages, its core expands and heats up, increasing the rate of nuclear fusion.
After another 1 or 2 billion years, its energy output will boil Earth’s oceans away.
Subsequently, gravitational interactions among the inner planets perturbs their orbits.
There’s a small probability that each rocky planet, including Earth, gets ejected.
After 4 billion years, the inevitable Andromeda-Milky Way merger occurs.
Despite new star formation, supernovae, and stellar collisions, Earth likely remains unaffected.
A few billion years later, the sun becomes a red giant.
Destined to engulf Mercury and Venus, Earth’s fate remains in doubt.
Stellar mass loss pushes Earth’s orbit outward; we may yet survive.
If so, we’ll orbit our remnant white dwarf for aeons to come.
After ~1019 years, massive interactions eject most stars and solar systems.
Earth, however, remains orbiting our stellar remnant, with gravitational radiation causing an inspiral.
After ~1026 years, tides will fatally rip the planet apart.
The sun’s black dwarf corpse will finally devour Earth’s remnant ashes: our ultimate end.
Only the rare, isolated, ejected planets will remain intact for longer.
Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in images, visuals, and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.