[quote=english_matt] … the sun will most likely explode in about 4500 million years or so (my figures may be a bit out), and the Earth will be destroyed in the explosion. …
While the sun will die in about 5,000,000,000 years, earth will become uninhabitable much sooner – around 700,000 years from now earth will not longer be able to support life.
You see, the sun is able to keep burning through a process called Nuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion is an atomic reaction that fuels stars. In fusion, many nuclei (the centers of atoms) combine together to make a larger one (which is a different element). The result of this process is the release of a lot of energy (the resultant nucleus is smaller in mass than the sum of the ones that made it; the difference in mass is converted into energy by the equation E=mc2)
Initially, hydrogen (1H) is converted into helium (4He) – that has been going on for nearly the past five billion years and will finish in about 700,000 years from now. Once all of the hydrogen has been used up, things drasticly change and speed up. As the heavier elements begin to undergo fusion, more heat and radition will be released making the earth unable to support life.
helium (4He) will convert into carbon (12C), which will convert into oxygen (16O), which will convert into neon (20Ne), which will convert into magnesium (24Mg), which will convert into silicon (28Si), which will convert into sulfur (32S), which will convert into calcium (40Ca), which will convert into titanium (48Ti), which will convert into chromium (52Cr) which will convert into iron (56Fe). Once the entire sun is composed of iron, further fusion is not possible and it will go nova in about 5,000,000,000 years but again, earth will become uninhabitable much sooner – around 700,000 years from now when the sun runs out of hydrogen fuel.
[quote=english_matt] …Would God have created Man knowing that this destructive event would occur and thus destroy His creation? …
Doesn’t it say somewhere that the first time God destroyed the earth with water (the flood) and the second time it will be by fire? What’s going to happen with the sun might be what that statement is referring to – so it might be part of God’s long range plans all along.
[quote=english_matt] …Would the ability to set up new population centres on other planets contradict Gods plan and Catholic teachings? …
It is not possible for us to set up population centres on other planets outside of our solar system. It has nothing to do with technology but with the limits imposed by the laws of physics. Assuming we had starships that could fly hundreds of times faster than anything we have today and assuming that we had a limitless suppy of fuel to power these ship (two very big and very unlikely assumptions), the laws of physics would still prevent us from reaching other inhabitable plants outside of our solar system so there would be no contradiction of God’s plan or Catholic teaching.
I started to explain exactly how the laws of physics would prevent us from setting up population centres on other planets outside of our solar system, but I exceeded the post size limit. If anyone is interested, just PM or email me for the details.