While space agencies and astronomers alike have found that the outer fringes of our very own solar system holds small asteroids and chunks of ice, as opposed to life, it turns out that our investigation of the relatively small solar system is far from over. In fact, a pair of new studies published just this week reveal that we may be adding new members to the roster as at least two new planets larger than Earth are likely hiding beyond Pluto.
Though Pluto may have been demoted from the title of planet to “dwarf planet”, NASA’s newest mission New Horizons which plans a flyby next summer has sparked new interest in the farthest depths of our very own solar system. And it appears that we may not just stop there. According to a new study published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, researchers believe that even closer than our Oort cloud we may find at least two more planets circling our Sun far beyond Pluto’s vast expanses.
In a week when all eyes are set to space, and all questions in the social sphere revolve around the topic of comets, India’s Space Agency ISRO doesn’t want to be counted out of the mix. And while they may not be putting a lander on a speeding comet, or orbiting one like Europe’s space agency (the ESA), ISRO was able to catch its own glimpse of one last month and has taken to the web with a new view of a cosmic passerby.
As news spread worldwide of the arrival of Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring, anticipated to arrive yesterday Sunday Oct. 19 just outside of Mars’ outer atmosphere, it appears that aerospace agencies invested in the red planet headed the warnings and got out of the way of the fast moving rock. Following NASA’s lead in safety protocol, intended to keep Mars orbiters functional and safe from cosmic debris, other agencies like the European Space Agency (ESA) elected to “duck and cover” behind the planet Mars and peak out only for an up-close look at the rare, passing comet.
Mars had a close call this past weekend as a comet passed so close to the Red Planet that NASA moved its three Mars orbiters to the opposite side of the planet hoping to shield them from the dust and gas debris left by the tail of Comet Siding Spring.