Astronomers have found a network of space "highways" for rapid travel through the solar system
Structures that are generated by gravitational interactions in the solar system enable objects to move quickly in space - scientists inform. The newly discovered route network can be used for your own space exploration.
Scientists have discovered a previously unknown network of cosmic "highways" that allow us to travel through the solar system much faster. Such routes could allow comets and asteroids near Jupiter to reach Neptune in less than a decade. You can have up to 100 astronomical units travel in less than a century. Newly discovered routes can be used to send spacecraft relatively quickly into the most remote corners of our planetary system and to observe and understand objects that could collide with our planet.
A network of space "highways"
Planets and other objects in the solar system are in constant motion. By changing their position, they can influence the trajectory by gravity. Similar maneuvers, so-called gravitation assistants, in which the speed or direction of a ship or a probe is changed with the help of a gravitational field, have been used in the solar system for years to determine routes.
In an article published in "Science Advances"Scientists from the University of California at San Diego report that it was released Gravity assistants have observed, which can greatly speed up the journey through the solar system. These tracks consist of a series of interconnected arcuate structures that run through Gravitational interactions are formed between different objects in our solar system.
Each planet creates its own structures, the dynamics of which have just been studied by scientists. Together they form something like a network of cosmic "highways". Gravitational structures arise and disappear over decades. They stretch from the planetoid belt between Mars and Jupiter to Uranus and beyond.
Journeys through the solar system
The most visible arched structures are with Jupiter and its strong ones Gravitational forces connected. The huge influence of Jupiter is not a big surprise. Along with the sun, Jupiter is the most massive object in the solar system. As the authors of the publication note, the entire population of comets of the Jupiter family, whose orbital period is less than 20 years, is controlled by newly discovered structures. The same is true of the Centauri, small asteroids that orbit the Sun in orbits between Jupiter and Neptune. Some of them are thrown out of the solar system or collide with Jupiter.
The journey of a trans-Neptonic object, i.e. one that orbits the sun behind the orbit of Neptune, through the Centaurian space and further into the orbit of Jupiter, can take between 10.000 and even a billion years. But the path identified by the researchers appears to be much shorter. Thanks to these paths, the journey, which would take thousands or even millions of years, can be shortened to decades.
Scientists have managed to find this hidden system thanks to a thorough analysis of the orbits of millions of objects in the solar system. This peculiar "road network" can help us better understand the movement and dynamics of objects that pose a potential threat to Earth - asteroids and other cosmic rocks that could hit our planet. The scientists also want to find out how these space "highways" can be used by spacecraft and how such routes behave near the earth.