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CosmosUp | January 23, 2022

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Future of the Earth: 500 Years From Now

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Future of the Earth: 500 Years From Now

If you could travel back in time five centuries, you’d encounter a thriving Aztec empire in Central Mexico, a freshly painted “Mona Lisa” in Renaissance Europe and cooler temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere.

This was a world in the midst of the Little Ice Age (A.D. 1300 to 1850) and a period of vast European exploration now known as the Age of Discovery.

But what if we could look 500 years into the future and glimpse the Earth of the 26th century?

Would the world seem as different to us as the 21st century would have seemed to residents of the 16th century? For starters, what will the weather be like?

Depending on whom you ask, the 26th century will either be a little chilly or infernally hot. Some solar output models suggest that by the 2500s, Earth’s climate will have cooled back down to near Little Ice Age conditions [source: Perry].

Other studies predict that ongoing climate change and fossil fuel use will render much of the planet too hot for human life by 2300.

Some experts date the beginning of human climate change back to the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, others to slash-and-burn agricultural practices in prehistoric times.

Either way, tool-wielding humans alter their environment — and our 26th century tools might be quite impressive indeed.


Theoretical physicist and futurist Michio Kaku predicts that in a mere 100 years, humanity will make the leap from a type zero civilization to a type I civilization on the Kardashev Scale. In other words, we’ll become a species that can harness the entire sum of a planet’s energy.

Wielding such power, 26th-century humans will be masters of clean energy technologies such as fusion and solar power.

Furthermore, they’ll be able to manipulate planetary energy in order to control global climate. Physicist Freeman Dyson, on the other hand, estimates the leap to a type I civilization would occur within roughly 200 years.

Technology has improved exponentially since the 1500s, and this pace will likely continue in the centuries to come.

Physicist Stephen Hawking proposes that by the year 2600, this growth would see 10 new theoretical physics papers published every 10 seconds.

If Moore’s Law holds true and both computer speed and complexity double every 18 months, then some of these studies may be the work of highly intelligent machines.

What other technologies will shape the world of the 26th century?

Futurist and author Adrian Berry believes the average human life span will reach 140 years and that the digital storage of human personalities will enable a kind of computerized immortality.

Humans will farm the oceans, travel in starships and reside in both lunar and Martian colonies while robots explore the outer cosmos. Where will we go from there?



  1. Felix

    The big assumption made here, is that the scientific method and western civilization will continue to be the dominant model of humanity.
    If you look a bit outside the window and read the newspapers you will realize that there are competing ideas that are very different and aggressively spreading…

    A likely scenario might as well be that in 500 years, all scientific books have been burnt/deleted and we are back in a middle-age religious society. People extrapolate the rise of a society over hundreds of years, but neglect the fact that a society can fall within the blink of an eye…

  2. Robert P Moore

    I agree with Felixs’ post. 20% of humanity is Islamic and very interested in becoming 100%. A post of late mentions the Qu’ran, as some Imam quotes, says the earth is flat and that all the media that say it is a sphere should be removed as offensive. Nuf said. Yet normal technical evolution may bring us to a point where we “learn” by direct electronic input to the brain. If we do NOT also learn to learn without that input even if we directly input “how to read real books” like 8-tracks there may be none other than electronic to read. The direct evolution of “intelligence” is to reduce the WMD down to just a few individuals. Instant world wide ebola from 3 people that hate everyone. “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” (pome) says we must recognize REALITY to survive. Collective minds like ants may survive in the universe. Otherwise war (our group= “We Are Right” and you are not and we want all the goodies until one dominates) will kill us all. I think “little green men” are just waiting around until we do ourselves in to collect the real estate. To us the only thing that makes sense is “self control” for individuals OVER groups that want to claim power. We are individuals. The only “collective” that makes sense for us is one that allows species survival AND our individuality with real freedom too.

  3. Jaxsun Cru

    In 200 years, (roughly), Homo sapiens have gone from innovative for advancement to a level of greed only second to the narcissistic view that being “wealthiest” equates to being best. In 500 years altruism will be reason for a death sentence while accumulated wealth will justify anything, from slavery to mass murder, poverty will become a crime so the wealthy can control an ever greater % of power over everyone else. Hatred, anger, dissatisfaction and Intolerance will have become the marching orders for 2/3 of the world population while wars rage costing the lives of those w/o great wealth their very existence. Power and greed are universal in the de-evolution of Homo sapiens. By 2300 America will be a fully authoritarian nation with a multi-billionaire at the helm, glorifying war, death in combat and no corporate taxes whatever. Sorry, but everyone’s used to bad news, especially when they vote for it and support those in the wealthiest 1% of any nation. When a citizen votes they get the governance they deserve.

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