Scientists Discover ‘Tether’ Keeping Planets From Colliding

Solar system InternationalIndiaAfricaMary ManleyEarlier models suggested the orbits of the inner solar system planets are random, and that based on their chaotic trajectory, they should have crashed into each other by now.Newly released findings have offered insight into a scientific phenomenon that is keeping the solar system from descending into sheer chaos, a possibility that had once been anticipated.Using a model for planetary motion, scientists discovered the solar system’s inner planets are constrained by parameters that act as a kind of tether. While this exciting discovery helps explain how planets in our solar system keep from colliding, it also offers a deeper insight into how any exoplanet in deep space move around a star.Based on the theories of the 19th-century mathematician Henri Poincaré, it is possible for two scenarios to be created which would predict that were the distances between the planets of Mercury, Venus, Mars and Earth to differ by the slightest amount, in one scenario the planets would collide with each other, and in another they would veer away from each-other.But based on the astronomer (and co-author of the new study) Jacques Laskar’s research in 1989, the instance in which the planets would diverge (referred to as the Lyapunov time of the chaotic system) is 5 million years.

"It means basically that you lose one digit every 10 million years," Laskar, told US media, adding that after a length of time, the uncertainty of where a planet will end up grows.

With further calculation, Laskar discovered it would take at least 30 billion years for any of the planets to collide.The findings were published in the journal Physical Review X.


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