Study says early version of our solar system was ruined by Jupiter

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Mat Smith
March 24th, 2015
In this article: jupiter, solar system, space
Study says early version of our solar system was ruined by Jupiter

A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences hypothesizes that when Jupiter rocked up to our then-infant solar system, it obliterated the incumbent planes, and gave us a lot of apparent quirks of our solar system. Konstantin Batygin and Gregory Laughlin's study highlights some curious parts to our galactic home that aren't typically found in other solar systems - particular the lack of planets between Mercury and the Sun itself. Normal solar systems usually pack in a few planets a few times the size of Earth in this gap. Apparently, our solar system's big hitter may have blitzed these planets as they were still forming, while settling into orbit itself. Thanks Jupiter.

Once a few of these nascent planets had collided, it would have caused what the Washington Post calls "a chain reaction of destruction." Sounds awesome enough for a movie, although it has absolutely nothing to do with Jupiter Rising. Researchers reckon that any planets that ended up in the way of Jupiter would have be wiped out by debris in a mere 20,000 years -- space stuff always take longer. What's left of these planets would have likely gone two ways: into the Sun for a quick ending, while some of that debris would have sown the planetary seeds for Earth and other smaller planets.
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