Jupiter and Saturn Destroyed Super-Earths of Our Solar System
Well, we have a killer planet on our hands! According to a new study, Jupiter ruined Super-Earth versions of our solar system.
NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft has so far helped us discover over 1,000 planets in distant solar systems. However, scientists have been puzzled as to why they are so different than planets of our solar system. They were much larger, and founders named them “Super-Earths.” Those planets were smaller compared to Neptune but bigger than our Earth.
But why doesn’t our solar system has such planets?
If a new research conducted by astronomer Gregory Laughlin and Konstantin Batygin is to be believed, Jupiter and Saturn may have something to do with this. A paper was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, in it, these two astronomers suggest that during the early life of our solar system Jupiter was much closer (around 140 million miles away) to the sun than it is now.
Considering Jupiter’s massive size, it is possible that it literally shifted orbits of any Super-Earths by its gravitational force. As a result, they fell into the Sun.
According to paper: “In this scenario, the Solar System’s terrestrial planets formed from gas-starved mass-depleted debris that remained.”
“Our work suggests that Jupiter’s inward-outward migration could have destroyed a first generation of planets and set the stage for the formation of the mass-depleted terrestrial planets that our solar system has today,” said Batygin in a statement.
This isn’t the first time this theory has popped its head. Back in 2001, a research group presented the same idea and named it “Grand Tack Scenario.”
For this current research, both Laughlin and Batygin ran some computer simulations to see how GTS will impact our Solar system. According to Laughlin:
“It’s the same thing we worry about if satellites were to be destroyed in low-Earth orbit. Their fragments would start smashing into other satellites and you’d risk a chain reaction of collisions. Our work indicates that Jupiter would have created just such a collisional cascade in the inner solar system.”
So far this theory sounds promising but more research will be needed on the matter. If the theory proves to be accurate, it may be hard for us to find Earth like planets in other solar systems.
That’s because of Saturn. Usually there is only one giant gas-filled planet like Jupiter in a solar system. It gets closer to the Sun and stops to find a new orbit for itself and Super-Earths aren’t harmed in the process. But in this case, both Saturn and Jupiter were formed and both moved towards the Sun.
This brought havoc in gravitational actions and destroyed Super-Earths.