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
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
AUG 10, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Earth's Magnetic Field Changing Faster than Previously Thought
AUG 10, 2020
Earth's Magnetic Field Changing Faster than Previously Thought
The Earth's magnetic field is crucial for life on Earth. Generated by the molten iron core 3000 km beneath our plane ...
AUG 12, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Earthlike Planets May Orbit Supermassive Black Holes
AUG 12, 2020
Earthlike Planets May Orbit Supermassive Black Holes
Supermassive black holes are enormous wells of gravity that bind galaxies together and emit bright X-ray beams. Known to ...
AUG 31, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Understanding the Fate of Stars Consumed by Black Holes
AUG 31, 2020
Understanding the Fate of Stars Consumed by Black Holes
If a star gets too close to a supermassive black hole, the forces exerted on the star tear it to shreds, generating a hu ...
SEP 17, 2020
Space & Astronomy
What the Sun's New Weather Cycle Means for Earth
SEP 17, 2020
What the Sun's New Weather Cycle Means for Earth
Scientists have confirmed that the sun is nine months into a new solar cycle, and that this 11-year cycle will resemble ...
SEP 20, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Potential Signs of Life Spotted in the Clouds of Venus
SEP 20, 2020
Potential Signs of Life Spotted in the Clouds of Venus
Scientists were stunned to discover possible signs of life in the atmosphere of Venus. Their initial findings were confi ...
SEP 28, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Solving the Mystery of Jupiter's Astonishing Storms
SEP 28, 2020
Solving the Mystery of Jupiter's Astonishing Storms
Hurricanes don't only happen on Earth; the giant planet Jupiter is also home to swirling storms. On Jupiter, however, mu ...
Loading Comments...