Research suggest solar system may have once harbored super-Earths

March 23, 2015 7:27 PM

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Long before Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars formed, it seems that the inner solar system may have harbored a number of super-Earths—planets larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. If so, those planets are long gone—broken up and fallen into the sun billions of years ago largely due to a great inward-and-then-outward journey that Jupiter made early in the solar system's history.

This possible scenario has been suggested by Konstantin Batygin, a Caltech planetary scientist, and Gregory Laughlin of UC Santa Cruz in a paper that appears online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The results of their calculations and simulations suggest the possibilit...

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