The planet that means the end of the Earth

about the episode

There are two types of black holes in our solar system. The first gap is a gap between the size of Earth-like planets and gas giant planets. The largest terrestrial planet is Earth. The smallest gas giant is Neptune. If Earth were between 10 and 20 centners in size, Neptune would be a baseball, with a mass 17 times greater.

There is nothing between this coin and that of a baseball, while in other star systems there are a lot more planets in size. The so-called super-Earth.

The other hole is the site hole. If you look at the distance from the Sun, there is a huge gap between Mars and Jupiter, which could easily fit another planet. Waste of space, right? But what would happen if this crater actually contained a planet?

That’s what a UCLA researcher set out to find out in computer models. Fill the hole with non-existent planets of different sizes and watch what happened to the solar system.

It soon turned out that it was a good simulation. Depending on the exact size and location of the fictional planet, this could cause Mercury, Venus, and our Earth to be kicked out of the solar system. And the orbits of Uranus and Neptune have become turbulent enough to send them out into space. All of these actions follow the interaction of the planet with Jupiter. Even a simple alert against this gigantic gas giant causes havoc everywhere.

But even without ejecting us from our solar system, a super-Earth in that spot would affect Earth’s orbit, making our planet less habitable, or even uninhabitable.

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Not only are the results enough for a slightly disturbing thought experiment to show how fragile the balance in our solar system really is, they also provide important knowledge about the possible presence of life on planets in other galaxies.

Read more about research here: The planet that could end life on Earth.

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