Earth today is a rich blue ocean world with land and vegetated areas, clearly a habitable planet (Figure 1). The civilization impact on this planet is not evident when we look at our planet far from space. Only close inspection or the night lights show the tantalizing evidence of a planet dominated by an intelligent species.
Figure 1. Earth today, a blue planet. [Synthetic image created with SER]
But how our planet will look like in say 100 million years in the future? We worry now with population growth, conservation, and climate change for the next 100 years, but 100 million years is out of the scale. Humans alone took 5 to 7 million years to evolve from more primitive ancestors. In such time frame continents dramatically shift, climate is altered, life evolves, and humans will... (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Earth 100 million years in the future, a grey planet? A planet dominated by human descendant cities with little ocean and vegetated areas. This image shows one of various possible scenarios for life on Earth as part of our Visible Neo-Earth (VNE), a spinoff of our Visible Paleo-Earth (VPE) project.
The VNE is a current project of the PHL trying to visualize Earth from today to 250 million years in the future, with and without the human influence. The previous images were used during a presentation of the project.