science

A new highway network has been discovered to travel through the solar system faster

Researchers have discovered a new highway network to travel through the Solar System much faster than previously possible. Such roads could lead comets and asteroids near them Jupiter to me NeptuneThe distance is in less than a decade and to 100 AU in less than a century. They can be used to send spacecraft to remote areas of our planetary system relatively quickly, and to monitor and understand near-Earth objects that might collide with our planet.

In their paper published in the November 25, 2020 issue of Science advances, The researchers observed the dynamic structure of these paths, forming a continuum of arcs within what are known as space manifolds that extend from the asteroid belt to Uranus And beyond. This newly discovered “Celestial Highway”, or Celestial Highway, has been operating over several decades, unlike the hundreds of thousands or millions of years that characterize the dynamics of the Solar System.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZkASjpL81I
This video shows the global arc-like structure of the space manifolds in the Solar System. The map shows the area between the outer edge of the main asteroid belt at 3 AU and beyond the semi-major axis of Uranus at 20 AU. The orbits in stable openings appear lighter. Credit: University of California San Diego

The most obvious arc structures are related to Jupiter and the strong gravitational forces it exerts. The population of comets of the Jupiter family (comets with orbital periods of 20 years) as well as the small-sized solar system bodies known as Centaurs, are controlled by such manifolds on unprecedented time scales. Some of these objects will end up colliding with Jupiter or being ejected from the solar system.

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The structures were solved by collecting numerical data about millions of orbits in our solar system and calculating how these orbits fit into already known space manifolds. The results need further study, to determine how they are used by spacecraft, or how such manifolds behave near Earth, and to control confrontations of asteroids and meteorites, as well as the increasing number of artificial human-made objects in the Earth-Moon system.

Reference: “Chaos Arcs in the Solar System” by Natasha Todorovic, Di Wu and Aaron J. Rosengren, 25 November 2020, Science advances.
DOI: 10.1126 / sciadv.abd1313

Phil Schwartz

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