LONDON-In roughly 500 million years, scientists believe humans will no longer live on the surface of Earth; conditions will eventually become so harsh that not even cockroaches will be able to survive. But, there may still be some hope for Earth’s inhabitants.

Researchers have suggested a number of methods to stave off the impending doomsday, from altering Earth’s orbit by launching an asteroid, to uploading our consciousness into machines.

Columbia University astrophysicists Michael Hahn and Daniel Wolf Savin explain how life on Earth will slowly begin to decline in an essay entitled ‘How to Survive Doomsday’ published in Nautilus. 

If Earth avoids a life-ending event - like self-inflicted nuclear apocalypse or an extinction-sized asteroid - the scientists say humans have less than 500 million years left on the planet.

This comes well before the planet is predicted to be ‘melt’ 6 billion years from now, when the sun swells to become a red giant.

The predictions seem grim, but the researchers say there are a few ways humans can potentially save the fate of our planet. One such idea is to physically move the orbit of Earth.

‘If we fired a 100 km [62 mile] wide asteroid on an elliptical orbit that passed close to the Earth every 5,000 years, we could slowly gravitationally nudge the planet’s orbit farther away from the sun, provided that we don’t accidentally hit the Earth,’ the authors write.

They also suggest building a giant solar sail, at least 20 times the diameter of Earth. This would theoretically work to drag the planet away from the sun by interacting with the photons from the sun in a manner similar to how a kite flies in the wind.

Earth would remain ‘tethered’ to the solar sail by gravity. ‘Strategies like these could, in principle, keep the Earth in the habitable zone until the sun expands into a red giant,’ the astrophysicists explain. The authors also say humans may also decide to upload ourselves into machines.

This method is currently far beyond the reach of our capabilities, and would ‘require advanced computing resources and deeper understanding of neuroscience’ the scientists explains. But, they say the idea of shifting to robotic replacements is fundamentally feasible.

Doing this would be no easy feat, but they say ‘we could probably figure it out in the next few hundred million years.’ Researchers calculated the downfall of humans based on the Earth’s orbit, which they say lies ‘barely within the sun’s zone.’

As the sun grows brighter at a rate of roughly 10 percent every billion years, Earth will respond by decreasing its own ‘warming blanket’ of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

With less carbon dioxide, the plants eventually all die out, and oxygen will not be replenished. Over time, the temperature of the Earth will dramatically raise as well.

Large animals will be the first to die off, they explain, and after roughly 1.5 billion years, even the poles will be too hot to sustain non-microbial life.