Proposed ways to get to Planet X

(ORDO NEWS) — An international team of scientists has proposed various ways to organize a space mission to the hypothetical ninth planet of the solar system, or Planet X.

According to current estimates, the semi-major axis of the orbit of this space object should be approximately 400 astronomical units, which is 400 times the distance from the Sun to the Earth.

To study a distant planet, the researchers propose to build probes that can use various principles of movement over long distances.

For example, the apparatus can be accelerated under the influence of the gravitational fields of Jupiter or the Sun. Liquid hydrogen chemical propulsion, nuclear propulsion, or laser sails can also be used.

Sails could help the probe reach the planet in just 6.5 to 7 years, while other methods will take from just under 40 to a hundred years.

Laser sail technology is currently being developed as part of the Breakthrough Starshot project, and lab prototypes are already in place.

The ultimate goal of the project is to launch a laser sail to another star, but within the next 10-15 years it will be possible to create a small-scale version whose cost will be less than that of a traditional space probe.

Once a suitable laser facility is in place, sailboats can be launched weekly at a cost hundreds of times cheaper than current probes.

Back in 2016, American astronomers Michael Brown and Konstantin Batygin studied the statistical distribution of the orbits of Kuiper belt objects and revealed their clustering.

Scientists have come to the conclusion that it is caused by a currently undiscovered outer planet of the solar system.

According to their calculations, this object should have a mass equal to five times the mass of the Earth, and about ten times more distant from the Sun than Neptune.

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