Scientists may have found a planet in the Solar System that is very similar to Earth and located in the Kuiper Belt, except it is orbiting the Sun in a different way. Apparently, this Earth-like planet might be closer to our home planet than the mysterious ‘Planet Nine’, which is supposedly way out in our Solar System.
A Planet Hiding in the Kuiper Belt
While scientists haven’t found Planet Nine yet, NASA thinks they have found an object that could be about 10 times bigger than Earth. This new discovery has got scientists pretty excited. To get to it, scientists studied the space and objects in the Kuiper Belt – a disk of rocks and asteroids that goes around in the outer parts of the solar system. There, they saw some objects moving in strange ways, suggesting a gravitational pull akin to a planet’s.
The study points out that a planet like Earth may be hiding in the Kuiper Belt, just like some planets way back when the Solar System was forming. If this planet is real, scientists say it would be three times heavier than Earth, and lie between 250-500 times further away from the Sun than the Earth is.
The Kuiper Belt Is Far Away
The way the objects scientists observed in the Kuiper Belt moved suggested that there was a planet there — one they didn’t know about previously. This could help them learn more about how planets form and grow.
NASA has stated that their big goal is to find definite proof of life on another planet someday, and now it appears as though a new candidate may have just arrived on the scene. Still, scientists are not sure how common life is in the universe, and exploring space is a bit like a lucky adventure. Even though it could be many years before they find life beyond Earth, scientists are understandably fascinated by this new discovery.