Thursday, June 11, 2009

Science: Mars could collide with Earth or get hurled out of the Solar System by Jupiter

'Tiny Chance' of Planet Collision
BBC News, June 10, 2009
By Pallab Ghosh

LONDON -- Astronomers calculate there is a tiny chance that Mars or Venus could collide with Earth -- though it would not happen for at least a billion years.

The finding comes from simulations to show how orbits of planets might evolve billions of years into the future.

But the calculated chances of such events occurring are tiny.

Writing in the journal Nature, a team led by Jacques Laskar shows there is also a chance Mercury could strike Venus and merge into a larger planet.

Professor Laskar of the Paris Observatory and his colleagues also report that Mars might experience a close encounter with Jupiter -- whose massive gravity could hurl the Red Planet out of our Solar System.

Read the entire article and watch a video (1:20 min.) at BBC News.

Read an article titled "Mercury, Mars, Venus and the Earth: When worlds collide!" at the website of the Paris Observatory.

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