'Mars best bet' for human life when Earth gets too hot

Scientists say increasing proximity to the sun will eventually evaporate all Earth's seas. Credit: DPA

Life on Earth is set to continue for up to three billion years due to soaring temperatures and the best chance of human life surviving would be to relocate to another planet - with Mars being the most suitable option - according to a study.

Researchers say that our planet's increasing proximity to the sun will eventually result in soaring temperatures, the seas drying up and the extinction of all life.

According to a study by the University of East Anglia, in Norwich, man-made climate change will make human life on Earth impossible long before this happens and our best chance of survival would be to relocate to another planet.

Andrew Rushby, from the university's school of environmental sciences said: "To date, no true Earth analogue planet has been detected.

"But it is possible that there will be a habitable, Earth-like planet within 10 light-years, which is very close in astronomical terms.

"However reaching it would take hundreds of thousands of years with our current technology.

"If we ever needed to move to another planet, Mars is probably our best bet.

"It's very close and will remain in the habitable zone until the end of the sun's lifetime - six billion years from now."

Mars would be our "best bet" if Earth became uninhabitable, scientists said. Credit: ABACA

Almost 1,000 planets outside our solar system have been identified by astronomers.

The team of astrobiologists looked at some of these to find out which were best placed to support life.

They found that the recently discovered Gliese 581d could be warm and pleasant for up to 54.7 billion years - 10 times longer than our solar system.

Mr Rushby said: "We estimate that Earth will cease to be habitable somewhere between 1.75 and 3.25 billion years from now.

"After this point, Earth will be in the 'hot zone' of the sun, with temperatures so high that the seas would evaporate. We would see a catastrophic and terminal extinction event for all life.

"Of course conditions for humans and other complex life will become impossible much sooner - and this is being accelerated by anthropogenic climate change.

"Humans would be in trouble with even a small increase in temperature, and near the end only microbes in niche environments would be able to endure the heat."