Feb 21, 2023

What If There Was A Super Earth Sandwiched Between Mars And Jupiter?

Posted by in category: space

Ever wondered what our solar system might be like with an earthlike planet —- or one even five or six times larger —- orbiting between Mars and Jupiter?

Conventional theory has long held that the gravitational influence of Jupiter would have ripped any terrestrial mass planet to shreds or never allowed it to form there at all. But a new paper just accepted for publication in The Planetary Science Journal argues that a “hypothetical planet” ranging from one to ten earth masses located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter would wreak havoc on our inner solar system within a timeframe of only a few million years.

There’s been much speculation about whether the solar system could safely harbor an additional planet between Mars and Jupiter where most of our asteroids are located, Stephen Kane, a planetary astrophysicist at the University of California in Riverside and the paper’s lead author, told me via email. This study shows how such a planet would destabilize planetary orbits, he says.

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