What Would Have Happened to the Earth If it Were 10% Closer to the Sun?

February 15, 2024

We hear a lot about the potential effects of climate change and the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but what would have happened if the earth were 10% closer to the sun?

The Earth is currently 93 million miles from the sun, or about 490 billion feet. However, the Earth's orbit around the Sun is elliptical and the distance between the aphelion (closest point to the Sun) and the perihelion (farthest point from the Sun) varies slightly.

This makes a huge difference in the intensity of sunlight. Sunlight contains a variety of wavelengths, including visible light and infrared radiation. Ultraviolet radiation can cause burns on the skin. In order for us to experience burning, the UV radiation would need to be much more intense.

The density of the atmosphere is also crucial to its function. It acts as a thermal blanket that keeps the Earth warm. If the Earth had a thinner atmosphere, it would be colder and less suitable for life.

A larger planet with a more dense atmosphere would likely have a warmer climate than the present Earth. Its gravity could also attract more asteroids, leading to Armageddon-type collisions, according to Rory Barnes, a theorist who studies planet habitability at the University of Washington. The greater mass of a super-Earth might also lead to more volcanic activity. A higher pressure in the mantle could reactivate convection currents and reposition plate tectonics. But this is a speculation, and we will have to wait and see what actually happens.


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