Question from Keisha:
Thanks for “Entropy 101”. It helped me a lot. Are you saying that the sun has an infinite amount of “fuel” ?
Answer by SmartLX:
A lot of fuel, but not an infinite amount.
What the sun has is a vast amount of hydrogen, which burns in constant nuclear fusion and thus fuses together to make helium. It will take about 5 billion years (it’s had 5 billion already) but eventually all the hydrogen will be helium and that specific reaction will no longer occur. The helium will start burning but the reaction will be different and not sustainable, which is why the sun will become a red giant and ultimately shrink to a white dwarf. We’ll all be gone long before then, whether we’ve found a way to escape the solar system or just perished right here.
My point earlier was that as long as the sun burns, it’s an unfathomably huge rate of entropy – “loss of order” – which balances out almost any emergence of order that could possibly happen on Earth. Regardless of the exact mechanics of that process, it’s in no danger of violating the Second Law of Thermodynamics.