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Will Jupiter's Gravity Throw the Solar System Into Chaos?

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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:42 AM
Original message
Will Jupiter's Gravity Throw the Solar System Into Chaos?
Scientists Ask: "Will Jupiter's Gravity Throw the Solar System Into Chaos"?

There been a lot of media attention over the possibility of asteroids and meteors striking Earth and causing cataclysmic damage, but now some scientists are saying that the planet Mercury (sunris could also possibly smash into our planet. Huh? That sounds bad.

Jacques Laskar of the Paris Observatory, as well as Konstantin Batygin and Gregory Laughlin of the University of California, Santa Cruz reached the same unsettling conclusion using separate computer simulations of long-term planetary motion.

According to Laughlin, "The solar system isn't as stable as we'd thought."

Specifically, both teams found that Jupiter's gravity could eventually make Mercury's orbit so out of round that it overlaps with the path of Venus. This kind of close encounter would potentially send the inner solar system into chaos.

"Once Mercury crosses Venus's orbit," Laughlin says, "Mercury is in serious trouble."

Their models show that Mercury would be forced into one of four unpleasant scenarios if its orbit were disturbed.
Scenario 1: Mercury will crash into the Sun
Scenario 2: Mercury will be ejected from the solar system altogether
Scenario 3: Mercury will crash into Venus
Scenario 4: Worst-case-scenario, Mercury will crash into Earth

more:
http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2008/12/scientists...
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judasdisney Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:54 AM
Response to Original message
1. Pssst... don't tell anyone
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 06:29 AM
Response to Original message
2. I'm holding out for the scantily clad humanoid hotties that speak English
and their strangely strong libidos.
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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 06:37 PM
Response to Reply #2
11. Nothing strange about it!
I for one welcome our scantily clad, English-speaking humanoid hottie Mistresses.
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ashling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 06:36 AM
Response to Original message
3. BAILOUT! BAILOUT! BAILOUT! SITUATION CRITICAL!
4 out of 5 scientists agree, Jupiter is too big to fail. The only rational option in this situation is to put all of the earth's cash into the next voyager spacecraft and smash it into the Jovian gasball. (Excuse me, I think it was that extra buritto.)

So, you should all put all of your cash in brown paper envelopes (preferably in $20s)and send them to me and I will see that they reach NASA.

Oh, and somebody contact Nigeria and get them on this right away!







:rofl:

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Pierre.Suave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 07:25 AM
Response to Original message
4. They should have let the computer keep running
to find out which of the 4 scenarios would happen...
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caraher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. It doesn't work that way
That's the whole point of observing that the subsequent motions are "chaotic" - which subsequent evolution actually occurs is not predictable. There is too much sensitivity to tiny variations in the numbers you put into the model for the model to tell you with certainty what happens next. At best, they can run the simulations many times (and it sounds like they did) and count outcomes to estimate the probability of each.

what matters more is how long it would take for Mercury to enter a chaotic orbit. If it's billions of years I'll worry about asteroids first...
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qazplm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. I plan on living forever
so, I'm starting to worry!! ;)
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 07:15 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. Good plan!
I am too. ;)

Well at least a trillion years or thereabouts, anyhow. :P
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Pierre.Suave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. yes I know...
I was trying to be funny... I guess I did not do a good job.
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 07:23 PM
Response to Reply #4
15. Ran out of quarters
Those Crays don't take anything smaller.

:shrug:





:-)
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Pierre.Suave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 07:46 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. LOL
:rofl:
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Orsino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:02 AM
Response to Original message
5. We must counter this imminent threat by invading Jupiter.
We cannot wait for the smoking gun to come in the form of a giant storm three times the size of the
Earth.
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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #5
16. You mean Mars, right?
:-)
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phantom power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:57 AM
Response to Original message
6. Damn those chaotic n-body systems.
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montanto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:38 AM
Response to Original message
7. Oh, shit. Well, I guess I can stop worrying about
the economy.
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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 06:38 PM
Response to Original message
12. Scenario 5: Mercury will cause an epidemic of autism
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Dead_Parrot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 03:15 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. ...
:spray:
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laconicsax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 10:23 PM
Response to Original message
18. We should worry about this why?
In other words, if and when an impact does happen a billion years from now,
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-07-08 01:47 AM
Response to Original message
19. According to Laskar's actual paper this only has a 1% chance of happening, so calm down!!!
Edited on Sun Dec-07-08 01:48 AM by Odin2005
At least that what I remember it saying when I ran into the Internet PDF version of it I read a month ago.

Media sensationalism is teh sucks...
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