The results of a computer modeled study were published in the peer-reviewed Planetary Science Journal on Tuesday, describing how one scientist devised a situation that would “break” the solar system as we know it, APA reports citing Sputnik.
All he did was replace the asteroid belt, a region of space between Mars and Jupiter that is populated by legions of small rocks, with a rocky planet a little bigger than Earth.
“This fictional planet gives a nudge to Jupiter that is just enough to destabilize everything else,” said astrophysicist and study author Stephen Kane of the University of California, Riverside. “Despite many astronomers having wished for this extra planet, it’s a good thing we don’t have it.”
Noting that astronomers often regard the asteroid belt as “wasted real estate,” Kane noted that in fact, that planetary gap plays a key role in keeping everything else stable.