To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Earth could be saved from extinction in a billion years by a rogue star knocking it past Pluto

Earth could be saved from extinction in a billion years by a rogue star knocking it past Pluto

A passing runaway star could be the saviour of planet Earth as new scientific research shows it could redirect our planet towards Pluto

The fate of planet Earth could be saved by an unlikely cosmic rescue mission.

Planet Earth currently sits in a habitable zone of the sun. But, in the next billion years, the sun's increasing heat threatens all life on Earth. The oceans are expected to boil and humanity faces extinction.

Such positive news!

However, scientists offer a glimmer of hope in the form of a passing runaway star - set to serve as a potential saviour to Earth's impending doom.

The rogue star would pull Earth towards Pluto's region in the solar system where it would orbit in a cooler region and be relieved from extinction.

ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI / ARTUR PLAWGO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty
ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI / ARTUR PLAWGO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty

The research comes from a new scientific study from the University of Bordeaux, France, and the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona.

The experiment involved 12,000 simulations to observe what would happen if a star passed within 100 astronomical units - or 9.3 billion miles - of Earth.

The results of the simulation didn't go as predicted.

Sean Raymond - a study author from the University of Bordeaux - overestimated the stability of our solar system and said that he 'expected more to happen.'

In 92% of cases, the solar system remained 'nearly intact' during the star's passage.

Interestingly, in a fraction (0.28%) of the simulations, the rogue star successfully managed to pull Earth out of its orbit, towards the safer, cooler confines near Pluto.

ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI / ARTUR PLAWGO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty
ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI / ARTUR PLAWGO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty

Sean Raymond - a study author from the University of Bordeaux in France - mentioned that: 'It's really not that easy to mess with planets' orbits, a star has to get really into another star's business to mess with its planets.'

Don't get your hopes up yet though. Not all of the scenarios were safe havens for Earth. For example, when the rogue star intercepted Earth's orbit, our planet would sometimes end up crashing into the moon or Venus. Which isn't great news!

On the other hand, other simulations demonstrate Earth being kicked into interstellar space of the Oort cloud - about 2 billion light years away - or as a free-floating orphan planet.

It's one of those 'could go either way' situations.

Raymond concludes a '1 in 35,000 chance that Earth's long term prospects for life will be rescued by a passing star.' So, it's not impossible!

To put into context, Raymond comments that 'it's about the same odds as 'randomly pulling the ace of spades from two decks of cards whilst also rolling a combined 10 with two dice.'

Featured Image Credit: ANDRZEJ WOJCICKI / ARTUR PLAWGO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty