10 ‘What-If’ Scenarios About Our Solar System
Humans inhabit a small, green planet with one moon that orbits a yellow star with a few fellow planets not so far from us and a whole universe of stars, planets and other rocky masses years and years afar. As we investigate the more distant regions of space, we are desperately trying to find other solar systems that might support life as we know it. By investigating and researching, we are that much closer to realizing just how lucky we are to live on such a planet and just how different life could have turned out. Here are ten of the scariest and weirdest what-if scenarios that are connected to our solar system.
Mars Never Lost Its Magnetic Field
Mars once had a warm atmosphere that got destroyed when the planet lost its magnetic field. If that never happened, Mars would still have oceans and would most probably be a source of life. Mars used to have both green areas such as the Earth’s forests and the desert-like areas, matching the Earth’s Sahara in Africa.
Earth Has No Moon
Around 4.5 billion years ago, it’s thought that a Mars-sized planetary object crashed into Earth. This impact is what scientists think most likely formed the moon. However, if we didn’t have a moon, organisms would miss the benefit of using moonlight to remain active at night, the tide would not rise as the Moon affects the liquid envelope of the Earth.
After the crash with the planet of Theia, the Earth had rings, just like Saturn. Those rings, however, went on to form the Moon. If the Earth managed to keep the rings, the shadows of the rings would cause stronger winters and less sunlight in both hemispheres. We would also see less of the space as they would pose a bigger shadow in the sky.
Jupiter As A Star
The largest planet in our solar system is considered to be just a little bit short from becoming a brown dwarf star. Jupiter becoming a star would cause chaos in the solar system. The moons of the outer planets would be sent flying off their orbits in all directions, and the asteroid belt would be completely destroyed. Mercury and Venus would survive, but the Earth would crash into another planet and get destroyed.
Earth Reverses Spin
The first thing that would happen if the Earth’s spin would reverse is that the Sun would rise in the west and set in the east. The winds would change course and the climate would be completely different. Europe would be most affected, with the warming winds blowing across the Atlantic from the Gulf of Mexico disappearing, only to be replaced by a Siberian chill blowing in from the East.
Changing Places With Mars
Changing places with Mars would have some pretty awful effects. First of all, the Martian temperatures would rise and the polar caps would melt which would create a climate almost as warm as what we have on Earth now. Earth, on the other hand, would freeze over.
Life At The Galactic Center And Edge
Earth is situated in a pretty boring part of the Milky Way, way out from the hustle and bustle of the galactic center. If we were at the center of the galaxy, the night sky would be so much brighter. If we were closer to the edge with almost no light, we would collide with planetary objects so often there’s a question if Earth would be able to even survive.
In 2011, scientists found the first known planet that has two suns. It is believed that if the Earth had two suns, our days would be shorter, the Earth would have a lot more water and Venus might have retained its water, too. Also, there’s a possibility of our atmosphere being very thin and the air not substantial enough to survive.
The Sun Goes Out
If the Sun would go out, the Earth would not instantly freeze. First, the temperature would drop below –17 degrees Celsius (0 °F), and then it would go to –73 degrees Celsius (–100 °F) in under a year. As there would be no sun, there would also be no photosynthesis which would prompt plant life to die quickly and the oxygen wouldn’t be produced anymore. All surfaces and the seas would freeze. The best places for people to survive would be in nuclear submarines.
Earth Meets Black Hole
If Earth would meet a black hole, it would heat up to extreme temperatures and it would start to rotate faster around the black hole. What could also happen is that the black hole would disrupt the orbits of the other planets around us and send us spinning out of the solar system to freeze, or diving into the Sun to sizzle. When the Earth would finally be swallowed by the black hole, the gravity would crumble Earth and the planet would shatter.