December 19, 2018
Asteroid Belt Used to be a Planet that was Destroyed by Nuclear War? Analysts Hypothesize Alternative Space History.
09/10/2018 / By Isabelle Z.
When Pluto was unceremoniously downgraded from full-fledged planet to dwarf planet, it became clear that everything we thought we knew about the solar system was far from certain. Yes, there have always been a lot of unanswered questions about outer space, but most of us grew up being taught that the planets were pretty much set in stone. It turns out that another planet might have also once been part of our solar system, and its fate is one of those great mysteries – but scientists have put forth some very interesting theories about what might have happened to it.
You might already be familiar with the asteroid belt. This group of asteroids is situated between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter, and it’s made up of billions of asteroids. The biggest one, Ceres, is a dwarf planet much like Pluto, and it’s believed by some that the asteroids in the asteroid belt are essentially the leftover pieces of what was once a planet, which has been given the name Phaethon.
Lending credence to this theory is a mathematical equation that predicts the location of each planet in the solar system remarkably well – except for a rather large gap between Mars and Jupiter where the formula predicts a planet should exist. Therefore, when Ceres and the other asteroids were discovered precisely where the predicted “fifth planet” should be, many believed that it was a missing planet.
What could have happened to this mysterious planet?
If Phaethon was indeed a planet, what happened to it? There are a lot of possible explanations. Some experts, like German astronomer and physician Heinrich Olbers, believe the planet was in an orbit that was gravitationally unstable and within a zone where the gravitational fields of Jupiter and the sun were felt simultaneously, and tidal forces actually tore the planet apart. Other scientists believe that a large body crashed into it and caused it to split into asteroids.
Perhaps one of the most interesting theories put forth, however, is that some sort of nuclear explosion or war was responsible for the planet’s demise. While some hypothesize that a nuclear explosion was caused by the atmosphere itself, one theory says that a civilization on Phaethon used nuclear strikes when fighting with the civilization on Mars. These nuclear strikes left Mars lifeless, and they blew Phaethon apart. It’s certainly possible that Mars once supported life, as evidenced by the recent discovery of a very large underground polar lake on the Red Planet, and it’s an interesting theory to entertain.
We probably won’t ever learn the truth about what happened to this planet or even whether it ever existed, but it is very interesting to speculate, and doing so raises a lot of questions that are worth pondering. For example, what would it take to obliterate our planet? It’s all too easy for nuclear capabilities to fall into the wrong hands – and it’s quite likely they already are. Will intelligent life somewhere in the universe one day come across an asteroid belt made up of the remnants of Earth and wonder what happened to us?
See more stories on space phenomena at Space.news.
Sources for this article include:
W. O. Belfield, Jr.
November 18, 2013
When the first asteroids were discovered in the early 1800s, the astronomer Heinrich Olbers proposed the exploded planet theory. He predicted from this that many more fragments of the planet would found. Most of the asteroids are irregular in shape and resemble fragments. Only Ceres is a 600 mile in diameter sphere and is now called a dwarf planet. Then in 1814 the French astronomer Louis Lagrange extended the theory to explain the comets. The extreme elliptical orbits of the comets would be a natural by-product of an explosion. It is the simplest theory of comets.
The problem then is to explain the explosion itself. Even if all the U235 that ever existed were to sink to the center or the earth to form a critical mass, it would not explode the earth. This leaves us with the unnatural explanation.
When the Bravo H-bomb test was done in the Pacific, the yield was 2.5 times greater than what was predicted by Einstein's equation E=mc2. The test falsified the equation. The scientists who invented the Bomb, Teller, Lawrence and von Neumann, called for even more tests to find a solution. There is no indication that they found it. They did cause a cancer epidemic, and Lawrence and von Neumann died of radiation induced cancer. And at one point they proposed building a dooms day bomb that would destroy the earth. The Soviet Union may have built just such a diabolical device. Lawrence also proposed testing H-bombs in space. There was the concern that the bombs would ignite a nitrogen chain reaction that would destroy the earth's atmosphere.This was done mostly over the Antarctic. All it did was contaminate space. The van Allen radiation belt was invented out of whole cloth as a cover story to explain all the radiation that was being detected in space.
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