What If Just One Planet In Our Solar System Suddenly Disappeared?
Have you ever noticed how beautiful our solar system is?
Planets, asteroids, moons, everything seems to be in perfect harmony. Physical laws of nature hold together both rocky and gaseous planets, whether they are small or big.
Philosophers and scientists of all eras noticed this, as well, but it was only with Newton that we understood what was holding everything so perfectly together. It was gravity. As of today, we know that gravity is responsible for the amazing dance of planets in space. It is what gives them their spherical shape.
However, have you ever wondered what would happen if one of the planets suddenly disappeared? What would happen to this ‘perfect harmony ? Let’s throw Mercury away first. Get out! Mercury is the first and smallest of all the planets in our solar system.
It is closest to the Sun and its gravity is heavily influenced by the Sun because the Sun is huge! As you might already know, the Sun is the most massive body in the solar system! It accounts for over 99.8 % of the solar system’s mass! How many times did you happen to watch the sky at night, and see a bright, not sparkling needle, on the horizon? That was probably Venus.
Venus can appear as a brilliant evening star. Besides the sun and moon, Venus is the brightest object visible in Earth’s sky. Because it is closer to the sun than Earth, Venus never strays far from the sun in its apparent position and is seen during the year as either a bright morning or evening star.
Will things change if Mars suddenly disappeared? Well, first of all, it would be a pity for us, humans, because we are planning to live there, one day.
Mars is the most explored planet in the solar system: more than 56 exploratory missions were sent to study the red planet in great detail. Also, if Jupiter disappears and its moons stay then there is a possibility that some of the moons may hit other celestial bodies in our solar system and others may eventually start orbiting the sun.
Moreover, our very purpose in establishing colonies on Mars was to save the human race from extinction.
But with Jupiter gone, Mars won’t be safe either. So our mission to save mankind will have to take great interstellar leaps. So please, guys, don’t let Jupiter disappear! Saturn is the sixth planet of the solar system and the second largest member. Somebody calls it “the lord of the rings”, due to its beautiful set of rings, which makes it look quite majestic.
Look at it as seen from the Cassini spacecraft! Well, Uranus is big, but it is so distant! As we know, the universal law of gravitation tells us that the gravitational pull is inversely proportional to the distance of the objects taken into consideration.
Since Uranus is too far away, the force acting on the other planets is negligible! Nothing strange will happen if Neptune disappeared, but, as we were saying earlier, this is only valid on short timescales.
As an example, let’s see what would happen to the solar system in the long run if there was a 0.1% change in Neptune’s orbit.
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