Will Worlds Collide?

According to a June 10 article in New Scientist, studies on the variable nature of planetary orbits have shown some valid possibilities of collisions in the future. (The very distant future, luckily for us.)

Due to the nature of Jupiter’s massive gravitational pull on the inner planets, especially Mercury, their orbits are susceptible to incredible variances over time and thousands of different scenarios have been plotted via computer models. In some of these scenarios, Earth switches places with Venus and in some of those instances the two meet face-to-face in a fatal rendezvous. In other instances, Mars is the one to call on Earth, and in yet others some of the inner planets are thrown out of the solar system entirely.

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…Mars could hit Earth directly, be thrown out of the solar system, or come so close that Earth’s gravity would tear it into pieces which would rain down on our heads.

Don’t cancel your vacation plans or max out your credit cards just yet though….these catastrophic events are still just computer-generated theories, and all take place millions – even billions – of years in the future, if at all. We’ll be long gone by then, either as a species entirely or else living amongst the stars, or who knows where else.

But….that’s another hypothetical story altogether.

Original story: www.newscientist.com. Animation: J Vidal-Madjar/NASA/IMCCE-CNRS