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Carbon Emissions may be a big problem in our world today,
yet many disagree. 
So why study events so unimaginably far out in the future?
Because it can give us a better idea of where to look for intelligent
life outside our solar system. We've detected almost a thousand planets
using a variety of methods around a few hundred stars in our galactic
neighborhood. That's all well and good.  But, if the goal is to find life on 
other solar systems, finding those planets is just the first step.
Given what we know about life on Earth, we assume that liquid water is
required.  That narrows down the potential billions of planets in the Galaxy
to only the ones that are the right size to hold an atmosphere at the right
temperature and pressure for liquid water to exist.  Planets that meet these
conditions are said to be in the habitable zone.
At this point, it's important to note that it took a long time for life to evolve. 
The planet was formed about five billion years ago, it took between one 
and two billion years for basic microscopic life to evolve. Add another
three billion years, give or take, between the rise of single-cellular life and
the evolution of man, the taming of the atom and the invention of the digital
watch.  For simplicity sake, lets say it took 4 billion years for complex life to
evolve on Earth. So, if astrobiologists want to avoid looking for life in all the
wrong places, they need to consider the time that a planet will be habitable.
So that's why Rushby and his co-horts are studying the Sun's endgame.
They're adding to the model that astrobiologists use to predicts the likelihood
of the evolution of life into intelligent life, based on the long-term habitability
of an exoplanet's star. 
Now, with only a billion years of change left here on
earth,  I hope George R.R. Martin finally buckles down and finishes his Game
of Thrones books.
We all have important values and ideas, things we care
about and want to  share.  Sometimes we feel our ideas can even change the
world, and we want to let other people know how they can join in and make all
our lives better.

Article Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (cc by-sa 3.0)

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