Scientists say a mysterious ‘ninth planet’ in our solar system has the potential to wipe out life on Earth – just like it did before.
The 30-year-old theory claims that this planet may have been the cause of the dinosaurs going extinct. In fact, it may have caused a few mass extinctions, and it could do so again.
This year has seen an increase in evidence of a ninth planet, and scientists claim they have found clues to its existence in the ‘eccentric’ orbits of objects in the solar system’s icy Kuiper Belt (KBO).
Hey Planet Nine fans, a new eccentric KBO was discovered. And it is exactly where Planet Nine says it should be. pic.twitter.com/oZn0RDq8JF
— Mike Brown (@plutokiller) March 24, 2016
The giant, mysterious planet is thought to sit on the edge of our solar system and is 10 times more massive than Earth, but gaseous – similar to Uranus or Neptune.
The debate over this ninth planet has inspired retired astrophysicist Dr Daniel Whitmire to claim that it may have been responsible for the comet showers that caused mass extinctions.
First published 30 years ago, Dr Whitmire’s research suggests that as the large planet passes through the Kuiper belt every 27 million years, it dislodges a shower of comets – leading to mass extinctions on Earth.
His theory though, is that this planet is Planet X. Some other scientists believe the mysterious ninth planet is completely different from Whitmire’s theory, and have called it Planet Nine.
Earlier this year, Mike Brown of Caltech said that there was now ‘solid evidence’ that a ninth planet in our solar system exists, and he says it has nothing to do with Whitmire’s theory.
Planet Nine is right about THERE. I suspect. pic.twitter.com/OZsZ4Cv55A
— Mike Brown (@plutokiller) April 6, 2016
The man behind the downgrading of Pluto as a planet, Brown said:
Whitmire has been speculating for decades about a very distant very massive planet pushing comets around. It has to have an orbital period of something like 27 million years.
While that idea may or may not make sense, it definitely has nothing to do with Planet Nine, which is much closer to the sun and thus “only” takes 15,000 years to go around.
So, while this massive planet destroying life on Earth is only a theory, it looks as though the possibility of a ninth planet is not. With all this evidence, we may have a whole new planet soon.