NASA SHOCK: Space agency 'WRONG over planet closest to Earth', research claims
Earth is the third planet away from the Sun, so it has long been believed out closest neighbours would be either Venus or Mars, which sit second and third respectively. Although the situation changes frequently, NASA tells us “Venus is our closest neighbour”, based on having the closest approach to Earth. However, three scientists have calculated that, on average, Venus is not our closest neighbour overall.
Tom Stockman, Gabriel Monroe and Samuel Cordner published their findings in Physics Today, where they claimed Mercury was, in fact, closer.
The article, published on March 12, 2019, reads: “As it turns out, by some phenomenon of carelessness, ambiguity, or groupthink, science popularisers have disseminated information based on a flawed assumption about the average distance between planets.
“Using a mathematical method that we devised, we determine that when averaged over time, Earth’s nearest neighbour is Mercury.
“Mercury is closer to Earth, on average, than Venus is because it orbits the Sun more closely.
“Further, Mercury is the closest neighbour, on average, to each of the other seven planets in the solar system.”
The trio went on to reveal how they made the breakthrough.
“To calculate the average distance between two planets, NASA assume the orbits are coplanar and subtract the average radius of the inner orbit from the average radius of the outer orbit.
“The distance between Earth, 1 astronomical unit (AU) from the Sun, and Venus (0.72 AU) comes out to 0.28 AU.
“Although it feels intuitive that the average distance between every point on two concentric ellipses would be the difference in their radii, in reality, that difference determines only the average distance of the ellipses’ closest points.
“Indeed, when Earth and Venus are at their closest approach, their separation is roughly 0.28 AU – no other planet gets nearer to Earth.”
Yesterday it was revealed how NASA spotted a hypersonic “cosmic cannonball” heading through space at almost 700 miles a second.
It was revealed to be a pulsar – a rotating, dense star left behind in the wake of a supernova explosion 10,000 years ago.
Named PSR J0002+6216, it was discovered using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and is currently travelling at 2.5 million miles per hour.