Planet 9: The Future Beyond Our Stars
If you haven’t been paying attention to the astronomy community lately, you may have missed the new search for a new Planet 9.
A Little Background
In case you REALLY haven’t been paying attention to our solar system, Pluto, which we all grew up learning was a planet, the 9th planet to be exact, was demoted essentially to being a “dwarf planet” in 2006 because of the discovery of 2 other dwarf planets that have the same size and similar orbit as Pluto.
It was recently discovered that Pluto was actually part of something called the Kuiper Belt which is a series of planetary objects surrounding our inner solar system.
Random Thought: I always wondered why everything in our solar system was on a 2 Dimensional flat plane.
I didn’t study astronomy so I can’t accurately answer this question, but if you look up Kuiper belt on Google, you’ll also come up with a Oort Cloud, which are both a little bit more 3D in nature.
I think it may have something to do with the sun and how the planets are spinning around it. Because pluto & other planets in the Kuiper belt are farther away, then it makes sense that they’re on the different planes.
Enough about my random thoughts, and back with what this has to do with Planet 9…
What is Planet 9?
Planet 9 (also spelled out like “Planet Nine” if you go watch some documentaries) was first hypothesized by Astronomers Chad Trujillo and Scott Sheppard in 2014 when they suggested a small planet might be responsible for the unique orbits of some small bodies in the Kuiper Belt beyond the orbit of Neptune.
Basically, it’s a hypothetical planet.
It was extrapolated from dwarf planets like Pluto who follow a very strange orbit… and whose orbit could ONLY EXIST if there existed an unknown mass controlling them.
Enter, Planet 9…
Here’s a short video from some CalTech researches explaining why the hypothetical 9th Planet came about.
Some fast facts:
- More massive than Earth, less massive than Neptune.
- Orbit is not circular and 20x bigger than Neptune.
- Orbit of Earth: 1 year, Jupiter: 12 years, 9th planet: 20,000 years.
Basically, it’s the next Higgs-Boson. It essentially would explain something in our universe that is currently unexplainable. Part of the Standard Model of Physics just didn’t work if the Higgs-Boson particle didn’t exist. Therefore, for many years, scientists went on a hunt for the “God Particle” (aka the Higgs-Boson) because if they could prove that it existed, then the equation that explained all matter in the universe would be true. Thus, finally, on July 4th, 2012, CERN scientists from the Large Hadron Collider announced they had found it, and the physics community was changed forever.
Just as the Higgs-Boson was hypothesized simply because the “Standard Model” of physics didn’t work without it, enter Planet 9 whose very existence could shape the way we view our stars and our universe as we know it! It’s one of those ground breaking hypotheses that changes the entire playing field and future generations of educational classrooms around the globe.
Why is this important???
What’s so exciting about this? Well, for one… it LITERALLY expands our horizons. The “Final Frontier” is just a little bit bigger.
It’s a new aspirational stretch for humanity to strive towards.
One thing’s for sure, it opens up a HUGE array of possibilities that will define our future. What is this planet? Can we eventually live there?
If you’re a storyteller, this is ripe with many science fiction possibilities for years to come. It’s a goldmine waiting to happen.
If you’re an entrepreneur, perhaps you can take the baton from Elon Musk eventually one day, and after we get to Mars, start a company whose mission is to get to Planet 9.
I mean, if you look at Peter Diamandis, he’s already making plans (and founded a company) whose goal is to focus on and enhance the art of asteroid mining. If you’re able to do that efficiently, then all the raw minerals and ore found on those floating objects from the Oort Cloud could make you billions.
Silly thought-provoking question of the day: Is the reason why we haven’t had “First Contact” with any aliens because they can’t get through the Oort cloud since it’s too dangerous? Maybe Planet 9 protects us from invaders somehow! Now that’s interesting…
Anyway… there’s too many fun questions to tackle. But the human drive to satisfy our curiosity is ever stronger! So let’s continue to boldly go and seek out those new worlds, and build a better tomorrow!
Call To Action
Go check out some of your local observatories and they can tell you more about this mysterious planet. Happy searching!