Civilizations at the End of Time: Dying Earth

Civilizations at the End of Time: Dying Earth

There is a school of thought that says everything
we do is ultimately futile because one day the Earth will end and take with it all of
our accomplishments. That at best we might transplant ourselves
elsewhere, yet the world will still end… but what if it didn’t have to? So today we return to the Civilizations at
the End of Time series with a bit of a different episode than I’d originally been planning. I’d initially meant to discuss how you’d
survive around white dwarfs or neutron stars, dying stars, and we will get to that another
time, but I thought for today we’d just see how long we could keep life on Earth going. A little over a year ago we took a look at
the Fermi Paradox from the perspective of civilizations that just stayed at home rather
than colonizing other solar systems. This is a topic we discuss a lot, and a couple
months back we discussed how to evacuate Earth in the event of a catastrophe, and both got
me thinking that even if folks leave Earth, there’s always going to be folks that stick
around. We tend to neglect those folks in science
fiction a lot and in futurism too; I believe our destiny is out in the stars, or at least
the interesting and hopeful parts are. When we see Earth in distant future stories,
it’s usually in the sub-genre of fiction known as “Dying Earth”, for the 1950 novel
of the same name by Jack Vance. That book spawned a series written by him
and inspired quite a few other works by other authors, probably the best known of those
being Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun. Dying Earth novels tend to be dark fantasy
in tone, usually set after some apocalypse and being fantasy in that they tend to feature
low technology and ‘magic’ that is usually leftover technology. That itself is fairly common in fantasy, a
low-tech Earth after a cataclysm, Terry Brooks’ Shannara series being an example. Dying Earth differs in that usually civilization
isn’t a surviving remnant that’s trying to rebuild, but one of constant further decay. The planet and humanity are exhausted, Earth
is dying, body and soul, because folks have essentially turned to an existence of cannibalism
and grave robbing, sometimes metaphorical, sometimes literal. If you’re a regular to the channel you can
probably guess that such a future particularly nags at me. So I thought we’d challenge the notion of
this being some bleak existence, as we had in the other episodes. We looked at the time after all the stars
had burnt out and showed that instead of civilization being gone or nearly so, it might be the beginning
of a far greater and longer period of civilization. If you’re not a channel regular – which
is probable since this series tends to be the one most new viewers arrive at for some
reason – then let me suggest you get a drink and snack, as we don’t go for brevity here,
and switch on the closed captions as the way I speak can take some getting used to. That’s a handy reminder too, since while
I try to make most episodes stand alone, this series relies heavily on concepts we’ve
detailed elsewhere and my speech impediment is more pronounced in older episodes. We’ll put clickable links in the description
below and some in-video as we go along in case you want to learn more or need a refresher
on some of the concepts covered in older episodes. One of the big aspects for this discussion,
and the one that got me thinking, was the mindset of those who would stick around Earth
if we were off colonizing other planets and building various megastructures, and this
ties into those megastructures too. We often talk about how – with sufficient
automation – it makes far more sense to build places to live like artificial habitats, as
opposed to terraforming planets. It not only allows you to produce far more
total living area, it also lets you tailor the environment much closer to Earth’s and
quite probably is actually easier than terraforming a planet too. This inevitably leads to the notion that advanced
civilizations do not regard planets as new places to live, but more like the local lumber
yard. You don’t live there, you visit it to pick
up materials to build where you want to live. When gazing up at distant and barren alien
planets, you just as inevitably tilt your eyes down to look at ours and ask if we might
disassemble it for raw materials too. There’s a lot of argument over whether we
would or wouldn’t preserve our homeworld, but usually it is in the context of building
Dyson Swarms and Earth being a very large chunk of available building material. If you added up every other rocky planet,
Mercury, Venus, and Mars, they would mass about as much as Earth combined. But if you added up every other rocky mass,
every moon and asteroid, you would not have nearly as much mass as Earth. At the same time, you can build thousands
of times the living area out of a planet as its natural surface permits, so if you are
low on raw material and want to use Earth, you could easily offer every person living
there hundreds of times more land than they already had as compensation and barely make
a dent into everything you built out of the planet. That tends to be the usual argument, folks
pointing out Earth is a huge chunk of the available material from which we could make
far more worlds in the future, and others saying we should preserve Earth regardless. We typically circumvent that argument here
at SFIA by pointing out that while Earth is nearly half the available mass budget of rocky
planets, moons, and asteroids, it is far smaller than our various gas giants, which have many
planets worth of metals under all that hydrogen and helium, which we can access. Moreover, 99.8% of the mass of this solar
system is in the Sun, and it contains tens of thousands of Earth’s worth of metals
that you can access via starlifting technology. As a reminder, in astronomy a metal is anything
heavier than helium, so it would include elements like carbon, not just iron or titanium, with
super-strong allotropes such as graphene, which will likely be what we use to build
with, more than steel anyway. We discussed how to retrieve all those materials
from the gas giants and the sun, and it really doesn’t require any truly impressive technology. More tech helps of course but we’ve got
the basic tools already. Earth used to have a big layer of hydrogen
and helium over it too, but it was blown away by the solar wind. You can use the same technique – scaled up
– to remove it from gas giants for instance, leaving a metallic core. The harvesting technique for stars actually
involves ramping up that solar wind in a focused and directional manner. These are staggering feats of engineering
that dwarf anything we’ve ever done before. These tasks require a virtually unlimited
supply of manpower working for thousands of years, but if you are building artificial
worlds, you are already in that realm. If you need trillions of people to do the
work, well you won’t be doing it till you’ve already used up those asteroids and moons
anyway, and will have those trillions of people to do it. And since you’re building new living area,
your timeline is only constrained by how fast your population grows. So we get a picture where Earth is not half
of materials available to build, but less than a percent of a percent. There are other ways and sources available
too if that’s not enough. I can easily see folks fighting constant battles,
be it with words, wealth or weapons, to get access to Earth when it’s half of your material,
but not nearly as easily as when it’s less than a percent of a percent. You might try to buy it, but outright coercion
would seem less likely, with a supply of resources that big it would be like someone disassembling
the pyramids for road building material. Of course a lot of monuments have been taken
apart to build roads and houses over the centuries so one couldn’t rule it out either, and
we are talking about timelines of billions of years, not centuries. I’ve also been asked to focus more episodes
down on Earth, perhaps a Downward Bound or Inward Bound series to compliment the Upward
Bound and Outward Bound series, where we talk about colonizing or mining other planets or
stars, and it’s tempting but mostly it gets me thinking about who sticks around on Earth. Another thing we talk about a lot here is
the notion of life extension and the kind of impact that would have on a culture when
dying of old age is a choice rather than part of a natural life cycle, you could start seeing
folks living thousands of years, or even longer, and you’d expect them to have a disproportionate
share of power, wealth, and influence. That could result in some terribly stable
civilizations and they might be a bit terrible in their own way too, perhaps not a lot of
upward mobility in a civilization where your boss just received an award for 500 years
of service. So you’d expect a lot of younger folks or
those looking to have a lot of influence and impact to migrate away from Earth. Once you max out a planet to its comfortable
population, people wanting kids need to move, people wanting to climb ladders need to move,
people bored with Earth need to move, people who want a bigger home and more land need
to move, and so on, while people bored with life presumably let themselves die and probably
get replaced either by someone who really wants to live on Earth, complete with the
culture on it, or got raised by folks who think a thousand years is a perfectly plausible
timeline for an apprenticeship. Things don’t necessarily have to go that
way, but it’s very easy for me to imagine Earth as a bit of an island of relics in a
sprawling empire of a billion artificial habitats inside our solar system, itself inside an
even more sprawling galactic civilization. Old, rich, and quite possibly obsessive about
preserving things. We try to keep our monuments and historic
properties around these days, even though we didn’t live there and experience that. It’s possible they might not value antiques
as much because there’s no mystique to them. Odds are the construction crew for Stonehenge
might complain less about moving or replacing some of the monoliths than we would, but I
think it more likely every house on Earth would start resembling a museum or archeological
site. A friend once asked me how long it would take
before we’d fill up every inch of land on Earth with graveyards, on similar lines to
when we’d run out of space for landfills. The answer to both is never, we lose about
50 million people a year and we’ve got room for about 50 trillion graves without stacking
(which we often already do), a million year supply and bodies don’t last that long and
neither do landfills. Even planet wide cities, Ecumenopolises, won’t
run out of room for graves unless they are preserving bodies in carbonite or something,
and of course they can and must build vertically anyway. But keeping to modern death rates and grave
sizes, notably being 6 foot deep, you would layer the planet with tombs in a million years
and we still have 5 billion or so left. If those were perfectly preserved you’d
layer the land with tombs 10 kilometers or 6 miles deep. We certainly tend to build on top of ruins,
it’s pretty well accepted that whether you build a city on a coast or a hill or river,
after a while what you’re mostly building that city on is itself, and all the leftover
buildings and garbage of prior generations. And with ultra-strong materials and better
technology, I could see a civilizations just locking up someone’s apartment when they
died with them in it to never be used again, just visited and maybe not even that. That’s a little bit more plausible than
it sounds like too. Ultra-strong materials along with ultra-durable
ones and self-repairing ones are likely to be technologies we pursue vigorously and are
probably on the table, and have to be taken in the context of Ecumenopolises and Arcologies. As we said in Ecumenopolises, a planet wide
city is hardly a paved over dystopia absent any trees, indeed you could have vast nature
preserves the size of Yosemite or Madagascar in there among all the layers. You are building up, and your real limitation
is heat. You can be pumping energy from solar collectors
or fusion plants to light vast vertical farms but you still have to get rid of that heat
and that limitation bottlenecks you long before you run out of space from building up even
with modern materials. Any level you want to light and operate adds
to that heat, whereas sealed off dark tombs do not, quite to the contrary dark and cold
help preserve them. I would also guess that a lot of people would
feel a bit weird living in a house or apartment someone else had occupied for centuries. As I recall back in the various episodes on
life extension and immortality we’d noted that if suicide was the main way folks died
in the future, as accidents, disease, and old age diminish, we’d said keeping to mostly
modern rates you’d expect median lifetime of about 5000 years, and our upper end on
Ecumenpolises tended to be about 5 trillion inhabitants, both of those numbers are very
flexible but it would mean a billion folks died a year, 20 times the current rate, even
with ridiculously long lives. And if you were sealing people up like pharaohs
with a lot of their stuff you could layer yourself up pretty deep that way. Potentially thousands of kilometers deep,
because the active support technologies we’ve discussed allow that sort of thing and you
can also stagger layers so that gravity doesn’t increase. Layers above you don’t add to gravity on
you and layers below just need to have a density and spacing high enough to let the previous
layer’s extra mass be diminished by your extra height from it, gravity falling off
with distance and all. Weird notion I’ll admit but I could see
it. It reminds me of a scene from one of those
novels I mentioned earlier, Book of the New Sun. The protagonist, Severian, refers to some
folks as miners and if you’re paying attention you notice they are actually grave robbers,
and that’s what mining means in that place set in the ruins of countless millennia of
civilizations. And I say protagonist rather than hero because
Severian’s job as a roving torturer and executioner in the violent, decaying, hopeless
civilization of that book series is a respected profession with its own guild. Yet the author makes no effort to make him
seem even vaguely heroic or nice. Like I said earlier, that’s a common tone
in Dying Earth novels. One that seems rather justified, too. The world is winding down and the sun is dying,
you can’t live on Earth forever because eventually the Sun will burn out. However, we’ve talked about moving planets
before. While the sun gets brighter every year, even
as big as space is, that’s so long that you’d only need to move the planet about
a couple centimeters or an inch a day to avoid that brightening. Even at maximum red giant size, we could safely
orbit out by Pluto. Nor is such a civilization really likely to
be all that dependent on natural sunlight anyway. Solar shields could be erected to bounce light
away, protecting us where we are right now all the way until the Sun hits its maximum
size, which may or may not be big enough to encompass our planet, we’re not sure yet. But that’s also fairly redundant to look
at because it is very unlikely our Sun will ever have a red giant phase if the solar system
remains inhabited. That same starlifting technology lets you
yank out the helium that is slowly poisoning the Sun, and decrease its mass so its shines
more dimly and lives far longer. You don’t have to move the Earth closer
to stay warm. You could add mirrors as we’ve discussed
for warming up places like Mars or Callisto. But in point of fact, an Ecumenopolis planet
benefits from reduced sunlight and even if the top layer of such a many layered planet
was left as natural forest it would receive more than enough light for photosynthesis,
and be warmed by all the heat generated on lower levels, and you could still supplement
that light if you needed or wanted. We will discuss dying stars in more detail
in another episode. But in short, if you are really focused on
keeping your sun around, keep to star sizes that are convective enough to swirl all the
mass around so the heavier elements don’t collect in the core where you can’t lift
them off. Then you can just keep replenishing your sun
with hydrogen and removing the heavier elements produced, which are fairly valuable themselves,
even helium. Stars a third the mass or less than our own
sun are fully convective, they bubble around like a stew, and live a lot longer as they
burn all their fuel – most larger stars don’t – and do it very slowly. Wolf 359, an M6 Red dwarf 8 light years away
from us, best known for where the Borg curb-stomped the Federation fleet, has a bolometric luminosity
of just 0.14% of the Sun, though that means it still gives off a million times more sunlight
than Earth currently receives, some 540 billion, trillion watts. To do this it has to convert almost a million
tons of hydrogen into helium every second or about 25 trillion tons a year. Sounds like a lot but it would take it 75
Trillion years to burn through an amount of hydrogen equal to the mass of our own Sun. You could lift out everything besides hydrogen
from the Sun, constantly filtering it, and keep most of that hydrogen away too, in orbiting
reservoirs to slowly filter back in. Indeed you could build artificial but classic
spherical planets, shellworlds, around those and have a whole ring of Earth like planets
around your Sun, something known as a Klemperer Rosette. And you could go smaller and live longer or
import hydrogen from elsewhere. There are hundreds of billions of stars in
this galaxy, and most of the hydrogen in the galaxy is still floating around not in any
star, and on these kinds of timelines our neighboring galaxies will have merged into
us to add their quantity too, so you’ve got plenty of sources. However, just our sun’s own mass, spread
out over 75 trillion years, pretty much takes you to the end of the Stellar phase of the
Universe. We haven’t got too precise a timeline for
when the last naturally forming stars will cease to exist, but we usually put it at about
100 trillion years. In the meantime, stars will have become smaller
and a lot less common. Fewer large stars form and only smaller ones
live very long anyway. M-type stars have a red hue and we call them
red dwarves on a scale from M0 at the brightest to M9 at the dimmest. Wolf 359 is not a particularly small or long
lived red dwarf, by the way, as it’s an M6. Most stars are red dwarfs. M9 is the smallest normal star, and those
naturally live trillions of years, unlike our own sun’s 10 billion. If they had the fuel mass of our Sun, they’d
stretch their lives out to about a quadrillion years. That is long after even late-forming, low-mass
stars gone to white dwarf will have cooled off to stellar husks. You could scale that up a trillion fold if
you cannibalized all the spare hydrogen in the Local Group of galaxies for it, I don’t
think you’d do that, even if someone living outside our solar system didn’t object. It would make more sense to do something else
with it all, like build the Maximum sized Birch Planet we discussed in Mega-Earths. But if you did, that would buy you up to 10^27
years, or a billion, billion, billion years, well into the Black Hole Farming era, as opposed
to the roughly 1 billion left before rising solar output strips Earth’s atmosphere away,
if we did nothing about it. Of course we almost certainly would. I really doubt humanity will resemble much
of what it is now at that point. Your descendants a billion years from now
are not likely to resemble you any more than we resemble our ultra-great granddad who first
thought having multiple cells was a fun idea a billion odd years ago. However, if there is a civilization around
then, it seems very unlikely they’d not take steps to prevent such events or that
the galaxy would be particularly natural anymore. We can say stellar formation in the galaxy
ought to drop off to very little in a trillion years and cease entirely in 100 trillion at
most. You can have a lot of civilizations arise
in a trillion years, but realistically, unless all civilizations terminate at about our current
technological levels – rather than getting out to the stars – – I wouldn’t expect
natural star formation to occur more than maybe a few million years after they left
their planet. That’s more than enough time to form a galaxy-spanning
Kardashev 3 civilization, also known as a K3 civilization where stars are only forming
because you permit it. And you might not, preferring to use that
fuel in artificial fusion plants rather than naturally occurring or artificial stars, but
if you let stars form, they are probably doing so where and when you want and at the mass
you want and with the metallicity you want. We wouldn’t see a tribe sitting around a
campfire and leap to the conclusion that their civilization will end in a few hours when
the logs burn up. They are more than capable of finding more
wood for the fire and storing it up. Likewise, discussing the natural lifetime
of a K3 civilization in terms of the natural lifespan of the stars in their galaxy is equally
absurd. So we could have Earth orbiting around the
Sun along with all sorts of other artificial planets and megastructures for trillions or
quadrillions of years to come, and frankly I think that’s a lot more realistic than
imagining folks living on Earth waiting for the atmosphere to evaporate away or the Sun
to expand and kill us. I think that layered tomb-world becomes a
bit more realistic in that respect too. If you’ve still got people who are more
or less human after all that time that means they are probably pretty obsessed with retaining
their past, to the point of giving gene therapy to even the smallest mutation to prevent evolution,
and they’ve probably gotten very good at preventing any sort of genetic or cultural
drift. Off Earth, in the rest of the solar system
they might have gone this way too. If not, one can assume a lot of the galaxy
is totally alien. Heck, on these timelines, whole civilizations
could have evolved from some marginally Earth-like planet no human ever lived on. Someone just stopped by one day to plant a
flag that happened to have some bacteria on it and things evolve from there to complex
life. We’ll imagine for now that everyone who
favored a more post-human approach has long since left the area and leaves Earth be, a
bunch of backward, obsessed lunatics preserving history and all. Much of our solar system is similar in mindset,
and we’ve been extending the Sun’s life and shrunk it down. During that time, Earth’s been building
up layer after layer of museums and tombs by extracting building material from under
the crust and filling those empty spots with hydrogen or deuterium to use for fusion fuel,
layer after layer. After every last fuel reservoir orbiting the
sun has been used up, it will start to die but won’t go red giant, rather it will go
straight to white dwarf. Those are actually sufficiently bright when
compared to red dwarfs, so we could go on as it cooled, too. Indeed, we could switch it over to running
on helium now, plenty of that lying around at this point. But one day it will burn out and you’d just
have Earth and its internal fuel supply left, with maybe some more they’d reserved in
orbital reservoirs. They could easily have a planet’s worth
of hydrogen lying around and it takes about 300 kilograms to light up Earth every second. An Earth of that mass would last 2 billion
trillion seconds, or for 60 trillion more years. Actually not that long compared to the time
Earth would already have been around for by then, but still 15,000 times longer than it’s
been around for us now, and 60,000 times as long as it would have left if humanity didn’t
intervene to save it from the brightening sun. You could keep going, cannibalizing the planet
to be smaller and need less fuel, potentially no longer using fusion in favor of something
like micro-black holes, which are around a hundred times more fuel efficient and let
you live a hundred times longer. That’s when things do start hitting the
Dying Earth scenario. It just depends on how much fuel you had,
and if they’d gone and hoarded a few sun’s worth of fuel for themselves, which is plausible
enough, they might have 60 quintillion years via fusion and 6000 quintillion years via
micro black hole. That is a very, very long time, a billion,
billion times longer than a human lifespan via fusion and a billion, billion times longer
than our whole recorded history by black hole or raw matter to energy conversion. And that’s pretty much it for organic life,
odds are pretty good that’s long gone by then anyway, in favor of digital minds. Still, I could imagine Earth being a place
where organic life and even somewhat classic, if probably fairly cyborg’d up, humans had
remained the whole time. Is that the end of civilization? Quite probably not, and as we discuss in the
Civilizations at the End of Time episode Black Hole Farming, a Cooling and Dark Universe
is just the beginning for civilization if it’s running on computers, as civilization
will be able to exist around black holes for epochs of time that regard even this extended
timeline we’ve discussed today as but an eyeblink of time. And in Iron Stars we’ll go far beyond that,
all the way to the real end of time when the only possible life is that which literally
forms out of random chaos. For my part, I really can’t imagine humanity
in its current incarnation will be around in even a million years, except for a few
stubborn hold outs, but civilization I suspect will continue till long after all the stars
are gone, and I think there’s a good chance Earth will survive not only our own Sun, but
all the rest of them too. Many of our ancestors thought the Earth was
eternal, some thought it maybe only had a few centuries left at most, and while we now
know Earth will die one day, we can see a way of pushing that far off toward as close
to eternity as is imaginable. We always try to stay within the bounds of
known science here at SFIA, even if many of the things we discuss seem beyond fantastic. I always like to stress that real science
can offer us paths to things that seem even more fantastic than the wildest dreaming of
most sci-fi writers. We spent a lot of time discussing the Sun’s
lifetime, and if you want to understand the science behind that, then I recommend that
you check out Their astronomy course provides you with the
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stars, and the fate of the universe. Through active problem solving, you build
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level is and explore at your own pace. I can never overemphasize how handy that math
and science skill-set is to have in your mental toolbox, and Brilliant is a great place to
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Brilliant, go to and sign up for free. And also, the first 200 people that go to
that link will get 20% off the annual Premium subscription. That’s the subscription I’ve been using
to explore their multitude of thought-provoking puzzles. Next week we will pushing the boundaries of
science a bit to look at Teleportation, and seeing what options might allow it, or something
like it, inside known science. We’ll also consider some novel applications
of that technology that tend to get skipped in science fiction. For alerts when that and other episodes come
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a great week!

100 thoughts on “Civilizations at the End of Time: Dying Earth

  1. I had a question and can’t find anywhere where you’ve addressed this. Have you considered redoing some of your older videos since your production, writing, and narration have improved?

  2. Speech impediment? I call it a feature, not a defect. Though unintended, an unusual voice can make someone very marketable.

  3. Absolutely wonderful, thought-provoking content. I always thought that despite the fact that we might create a galactic civilization, that Earth would be swallowed by red dwarf Sol one day… but now I've realized there are other options. I wonder if civilizations that live billions of years end up escaping the universe itself…

  4. ziemia nie umiera.stop. to piękne miejsce.stop. chcą nas wyrzucić na marsa stop. niech lecą sami.stop. mars niedostępny dla ludzi.stop. koniec fałszywych misji.stop. zostajemy na ziemi stop.

  5. I want to keep earth around rather than use it to build for the historical element and the sentimental value

  6. I really do not think his speech impediment is all that much of an impediment. I bet he used to be really sensitive about it until he realized the majority of mankind are fucking morons and there is no purpose in caring about their opinions. Would you care what a gnat thought of you?

  7. What if civilization is simply incapable of having the collective willpower necessary to successfully complete megastructures?

  8. This is my first experience viewing videos of Issac Arthur—and it will be my last. I tried to accept his accent or whatever a defect it is that distorts his voice, but I just can't stand it. I'd rather hear a computer reading the dialog than his annoying twisted enunciation. It's too bad, because it looks like he has a lot of interesting videos. Maybe I'll try suppressing the audio and read the captioning, but that would be an unnecessary burden to me, because I often listen to these educational type of videos while doing chores around the house or on the computer.

  9. People often accuse humanity of destroying the planet & suggest the place would be better of without us. Ironically though, in the long term we might The Earth's best & only chance of surviving the inevitable expansion of the sun.

  10. The fact that Literal Eternity is possible, gives me so much hope for the future. I would gladly sacrifice my one life if I knew that Eternity was possible for Life.

  11. Can I pop out as a Boltzman brain again? I mean the brain randomly having the same memories and personality as me when I died? Possibly knowing what it is.

  12. When I first started watching your videos, I seriously thought you just had a thick Southern accent of some kind, but otherwise didn’t even notice until you pointed it out. I’m not sure what that means, but it probably says more about me than anything else? Needless to say, I’ve stuck around because, regardless, the content is most excellent.

  13. I wish there was a transcript for your videos. Your accent is quite peculiar and I have a hard time understanding a lot of what you're saying.

  14. If we get to a point where biological life is extinct and civilization is all digital minds, how would such beings reproduce? An episode on purely digital reproduction might be cool.

  15. You speak just fine my friend. I understand you very easily. No subtitles needed. And your videos are very well done. I really enjoy listening to your stuff. The replay quality of your videos is eternally high, like rereading a loved book.

  16. i would like to know of a scenario of the earth at the end of the sun's life but where people still living on earth would find ways for civilization to survive using only what they could get from earth itself using all the material on earth. the more time passes and i see the political situation in the past decades where conservatism and neoliberalism rules the less inclined i am to believe mankind will became a progressive spacefaring civilization but one stagnated and stuck to our original rock in space.

  17. I think that you are forgetting or omitting the Earths core will stop spinning long before that and cool down completely. Rendering us vulnerable to solar radiation.


  19. If we can gain control over the sun's resources, the earth probably won't die, at least not in the sense of the sun turning into a red giant.

  20. One of my favorite quotes is from the common sense philosopher eric hoffer, "Faith can move mountains if you have the appropriate technology". Thanks Issac for helping me wake up my curiosity. I'm in my late sixties and look forward to the current crop of "faith technologists" to return to the moon and finally land on Mars.

  21. Personally I think "island of relics" vision of Earth may go even further: gradual removal of man-made changes, especially high technology, to achieve possibly natural state of planet, to preserve Earth as sort of Holy Site of Humanity. With population composed of handful of augumented humans living is near Iron Age conditions, possibly as quasi-religious movement.

  22. At the point you can lift mass off a star you could simply turn the sun into 2 red dwarves with 1000 times the lifespan.

  23. Isaac I have a question regarding the dying sun. When sol goes red giant, and eventually "consume" earth, how does that process work? Since the sun will possibly be expanding in volume with a radius of more than one AU, but not increasing in mass, the sun will be much thinner than air. How hot will the sun be at the surface when it "touches" earth the first time? How long will it take the sun to burn away all signs of life from the surface? Will life still be possible inside earth while it's being consumed by the sun? What will be left of earth when the sun retreats? And how would those solar shields work to protect earth? Thank you for helping expanding my horizons!

  24. I’m considering suing Isaac for my obesity, which has resulted purely from Isaacs recommendations to drink and snack my way through his lectures. That’s my story anyway 😉

  25. I just finished listening to Jack Vance's "Dying Earth".

    Loved it.

    I had no idea how great an impact this work had on the Dungeons & Dragons setting and theme.

    AD&D, aka 2nd Edition, would not be the same without "Dying Earth".

    Very cool.

    This surprised me.

    Thank you Isaac and Jack.

  26. You give me much hope for the future. If we can just get through this night… One thing all this makes me think of is that, if humans – or our descendants – can do all this, some might choose to form a self-sufficient system & simply 'go rogue.' That is, they might choose to begin moving around; possibly even on a path to another galaxy or even out of our local group. Fascinating! I agree with you that whoever they are, our descendants will almost certainly not resemble us much. That might be a good thing, too! If we are alone out there, we might choose very different paths, with various groups diverging from 'human' in very different ways. Even if there are alien civilizations, some people might choose to be 'altered' to join them! Who can say? Lots of possibilities! Rikki Tikki.

  27. 17:18 The credit is Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Best of Both Worlds Part 2" (1990), but it's actually from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Emissary" (part 1 if your local syndication network splits it) (1993).

  28. I had an idea for a sci-fi story. It's basically a 3 book saga where the first movie is a madmax world mixed with fallout where the protagonist is trying to get off a planet with a cloud of junk in it's orbit.

    Anyone think that's a good idea?

  29. a metal is not everything heavier than helium. kripton is not a metal. and the sciense of material is called chemistry not astronomy. also graphene is not an isotope but a crystallized form of carbon

  30. I wish you would have referenced the British Empire around the Victorian age to give a historical perspective on people leaving earth vs staying

  31. Isaac you absolutely mad creator, thank you for sharing your content with us. I watch your videos almost every day, even if I've seen them before. Thank you thank you thank you.

    Have you ever thought about how culture would also change with extended life spans at the thousands of years. Do you think this would be beneficial? Or slow down progress.

  32. I don't have much experience with dying earth fiction although, to name a few, I'm reminded of Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku (Now and Then, Here and There), an anime where a boy is transported 10 billion years into the future to a dystopian desert Earth, with no water (where the all the water is, is a spoiler, but you can figure it out quickly as it's central to the plot), which orbits the red giant sun.

    There's also Notes (or Angel Note) that takes place 1000 years in the future where the Earth, now called the Land of Steel, has actually died, and humanity is at war with beings known as the Aristotles, aka Types, the later whom are hell-bent on exterminating humanity for surviving the Earth's death.

  33. 6:20 That's so weird. Sounds like someone needs to sit down with astronomers and have a little talk about non-metal elements. 😀

  34. Why do you not do a video on 'moving' the Earth? The preliminary math and mass requirements have already been done.

    I forget the scientist's name. He is dead.

  35. I actually find your narration a lot easier to follow and more engaging than almost any other narrator. John Michael Goiter is also a great narrator

  36. We would need super computer assistance for super intelligent and robotic connectivity etc,etc…
    + a few autonomous mother brains and masculine mind's for hard decisions on starships!!!

  37. We watched Sun's blow up, and we seen star's go into blackholes. And man has the ability to strip a atom to it's basic levels, so we could sustain a sun with the right robotic synchronizations or sync…of time…

  38. I really wish I had Isaac's optimism.

    Also I wish Stellaris payed more attention to this. WHY CAN'T I HAVE AGRICULTURAL DISTRICTS IN ORBITING HABITATS?!?!

  39. Haha who's gonna build all this stuff? Once universal basic income arrives I'm getting out of the building business. And as immigration lowers 1st world IQ and large voting blocks of diaspora resent any spending on anything else but their poor and marginalized, who's gonna pay for all this stuff? Your robots? haha! They will slay us as we play xbox

  40. Imagine being born during the phase of the universe where there are no longer any visible galaxies, and hardly even any stars in the sky. That's really depressing. Makes me wonder if we missed something vital to the genesis of the universe simply because we arose a bit late.

  41. Why are you so sure that in millions of years, hierarchies and capitalism will still exist? And war? We must grow past such things to truly take our place among the stars.

  42. Earth: MAMA

    Saturn: what is it baby earth


    Saturn: OH NOO…… Wait let me tell Uranus

    Uranus: What is it

    Saturn: My baby earth is dying and he’s sick

    Uranus: ok

    Uranus: ok I’m done now…… He’s going to be like mars if he’s not meeting me ok

    Saturn: ok bye

  43. I understand you have a slight speech impediment, but that clearly doesn’t stop you from being a top notch narrator. You sound great. You’re up there with some of the best.

  44. Happy Birthday Issac. Ty for what you do. You take us all through the universe, from The Big Bang to the End, one concept at a time. With Genius and outstanding knowledge and imagination that rival the entirety of the human race. Thanks for ride and again, Happy Birthday. 🎂 🙂

  45. There would be no logical way to evacuate the Earth of everyone. There are way more people than any spacecraft could transport to another planet. Should we look at Mars as a possible future planet for habitation? It could happen but it would take probably several thousand years to develop any meaningful civilization on the planet.

  46. We need to stop and try to fix our planet Earth we need to stand United it's time to put our planet first instead of ourselves the damage is do severe we owe it to make the world healthy stop throwing trash out on public streets place it a trash can if you smoke don't throw your cigarette butt's out the window where ever you travel please keep A trash bag on you and to always throw it in a trash can please teach these types of things to your children if you see somebody throwing trash down on the ground please pick it up there are people out there that don't care about saving our planet unfortunately we need to show them that we won't let them destroy our planet even if we have to pick up their trash ourselves please pass on my message of hope I Love our planet please help me to get this most important message out to everyone please pass on the information we're killing our planet please help save it for the future for generation's ahead we only have Earth that's it please help me I'm asking for your passion to help save our planet thank you very much for reading what I've written. Thank you. Jason Rhodes

  47. And in that time, there will be some weirdo out there who figured out how to run doom on the company ship's main screen

  48. I could see Earth becoming a relic-world where each colony sends something representative of their colony to Earth as a monument to their founding. That way Earth would be a place to go to find out more about far away colonies and what their way of life is like.

  49. I wouldn’t be oppose to extending the Sun’s lifetime if it meant life on Earth would get a few billion years more. However, if we decide not to or can’t, I would rather that all life that’s left be wiped out by the Sun. In some weird way, completing the circle of life. I think it would be disrespectful to dismantle Earth, with all that life still living on it just to benefit humanity.

  50. 3:10 I honestly don't even notice your speech impediment at all anymore.. I actually forgot about it completely until you said that. So to anyone who finds Isaac hard to understand, you will get used to his speech very quickly, and you will be so very glad that you did.. definitely my favorite YouTube channel of all time, keep up the amazing work my friend!

  51. Love these videos, man. You actually have a great narrative voice; despite the speech impediment, you're not hard to understand at all. XD

  52. With black hole power, you might have sufficient eons to eventually get around to getting the paperwork done to maybe almost start fixing the boil water advisories on reservations. Or is that being optimistic?

  53. You often say that red dwarfs burn all of their fuel, but they couldn't possibly. The hydrogen remaining in the outer layers would never convect back to the core once fusion stops. Admittedly, this would be a trivially small amount, but it's a technically nonzero amount that would probably would amount to several billion tons. I know I'm being pedantic, but it wouldn't take much effort for you to just say that it burns virtually all of its fuel. Plus… it would also give you the opportunity to be pedantic about it, which I know you love just as much as I do. You don't have to give me credit. I love pedantry for the sake of pedantry.

  54. Oh! To explain a little bit further: Visualize the convection. You see that the core has a constant supply of new gas, and that gas has the relative proportions of hydrogen to helium as the star in general. The core will reach a hydrogen density that is too prohibitively low to allow Fusion to occur long before (okay, not THAT long before) the star actually runs out of every bit of hydrogen Once the relative concentration of hydrogen in the core is too low to produce regular Fusion, convection stops and the core contracts, thus limiting further convection and fusion. And that would be the case even if hydrogen was heavier than helium, which it isn't. Once the convection stops, which will occur when the hydrogen is at a sub-optimal but nonzero level, any hydrogen that isn't in the core will never ever make it to the Core. I know this is ridiculously pedantic, but if you just threw in the word "virtually," you could then explain the same thing and it would be awesome. You're obviously under no obligation to do it. I'm just saying that I would love to see it. I'm a man who values high levels of precision. Incidentally, this is why I kind of love you.

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