DEC 12, 2020 5:08 PM PST

Superhighways in Space Enable Super Fast Travel Between Planets

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Astronomers from Serbia have found that invisible structures created by gravitational interaction in our Solar System generate ‘space superhighways’ that allow objects to travel quickly through space. They say that these cosmic highways may one day be used for space exploration and to study comments and asteroids. 

From their analysis, the astronomers found that these superhighways are made of several connected arches inside invisible structures known as ‘space manifolds’. These manifolds are generated by individual planets and interconnect in a way that enables objects to reach Neptune from Jupiter in decades rather than hundreds of thousands to millions of years, as would be expected otherwise. 

Initially, the researchers became curious about the phenomenon following a paper that identified an orbital gateway through which different objects in space can travel faster than typically expected. As such, they began to study these regions of relative gravitational stability. 

Using a tool known as the fast Lyapunov indicator (FLI), usually used to detect chaos, they were able to detect the presence and structure of space manifolds in the Solar System. In doing so, they collected numerical data on millions of orbits and calculated how they fit with known manifolds from Venus to Neptune. 

In the end, they found that the most prominent arches were linked to Jupiter and most strongly with its Lagrange point manifolds. In testing these manifolds with computational models, they then found that particles were able to reach Uranus and Neptune from Jupiter within an average of 38- 46 years, with some being able to reach the planet in under a decade. They also noted that the majority of the particles were able to reach a distance of 100 astronomical units (Pluto’s average orbital distance is 39.5 astronomical units) in under 100 years. 

"Combining observations, theory, and simulation will improve our current understanding of this short-term mechanism acting on the trans-Neptunian objects (TNO), Centaur, comet, and asteroid populations and merge this knowledge with the traditional picture of the long-term chaotic diffusion through orbital resonances; a formidable task for the large range of energies considered."

 

Sources: Science AlertAstronomy

About the Author
  • Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
JUL 29, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Hubble Spots Evidence of Water on Jupiter's Moon
JUL 29, 2021
Hubble Spots Evidence of Water on Jupiter's Moon
Scientists have spotted evidence of water vapor in the atmosphere of Jupiter's moon, Ganymede. The corresponding stu ...
SEP 16, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
American Astronomical Society Commits to Open Access Journals
SEP 16, 2021
American Astronomical Society Commits to Open Access Journals
The American Astronomical Society (AAS) will move to open access format by January 1, 2022. AAS publishes six journals: ...
SEP 23, 2021
Immunology
Houses on Mars Held Together With Astronaut Blood?!
SEP 23, 2021
Houses on Mars Held Together With Astronaut Blood?!
A protein abundantly present in the blood plasma of astronauts is perfect for building shelters in outer space, say rese ...
OCT 19, 2021
Space & Astronomy
A Glimpse at the Death of Our Solar System
OCT 19, 2021
A Glimpse at the Death of Our Solar System
One of the most difficult aspects of studying space is that most things, on the astronomical scale, happen very slowly. ...
OCT 22, 2021
Health & Medicine
Galactic Cosmic Radiation Could Have Different Effects on Males and Females
OCT 22, 2021
Galactic Cosmic Radiation Could Have Different Effects on Males and Females
As commercial spaceflight becomes readily available, more and more people will have access to space. In decades past, on ...
NOV 09, 2021
Space & Astronomy
10 Facts You May Not Know About Carl Sagan
NOV 09, 2021
10 Facts You May Not Know About Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan was born November 9, 1934, 87 years ago today. He would go on to become one of the most influential voices in ...
Loading Comments...