Scientists disagree on whether the sun will eventually “swallow” the earth. One scenario is that in about 5 billion years the sun will have used up most of its hydrogen fuel, and will begin burning the reserve fuel in its outer shell–causing it to expand into the type of star known as a red giant. Whether the sun will expand to such a degree as to literally swallow the Earth is not known, but certainly temperatures will increase to such a rate that life will be unsustainable. Then, the sun will eventually collapse and become a white dwarf star, whereupon the already-incinerated Earth will then be too cold to support life. Other scientists believe that even before this cycle happens, the gradual brightening of the sun over time will raise temperatures on Earth so much as to make life impossible. This may occur in as few as 500,000 years.
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