The largest rocky planet in the solar system is Earth. The smallest gas giant is Neptune with a diameter 4 times its diameter and a mass of 17 times. There is no planet with intermediate characteristics. – In other systems, there are many planets of size and mass between Earth and Neptune. Kane explains, “We call it super-Earth.” The second gap is the distance from the sun. Mercury is 0.4 AU from our star, Venus is 0.7 AU, Earth is 1 AU, Mars is 1.5 AU, and the next planet, Jupiter, is 5.2 AU from the Sun. In his simulations, Kane decided to fill in this gap. So he simulated the existence of a planet of different masses there and examined how its presence affected other planets.
The results of the simulation — in which Kane investigated the effects of a planet 1-10 Earth masses in orbit 2-4 AU away from the Sun — were published in “Planetary Science JournalIt would be disastrous for the solar system. Such an imaginary planet would affect the orbit of Jupiter, destabilizing the entire solar system. Jupiter, the largest of the planets, has a mass of 318 times that of Earth. Therefore, its gravity has a great influence on its surroundings.
If a large planet or other massive body disturbs Jupiter’s orbit, there will be major changes to our entire environment. Depending on the mass and exact location of the super-Earth, its presence could—through influence on Jupiter—expel Mercury, Venus, and Earth from the solar system. A similar fate could befall Uranus and Neptune. If the giant Earth had a mass much less than the one that gave rise to the catastrophe and were located exactly in the middle between Mars and Jupiter, such a system could be stable. However, any deviation one way or the other will end in disaster.
Ken’s research isn’t just a curiosity. Show how delicate the balance is in the solar system. It is also important to look for planetary systems capable of supporting life. Despite the fact that Jupiter, far from its stars, gas giants are found only 10 percent. Their presence may determine the stability of the orbits of the rocky planets.
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