Colorado scientist David Nesvorny was running solar system evolutionary simulations recently when he realized that during 6,000 different simulations the Earth couldn’t survive during the system’s early years based on the current planetary count.
Once Nesvorny added another planet to the system however Earth survived as expected.
According to his work our solar system at one point had a ninth planet, a gas giant that was nudged out of the system billions of years ago to make room for Earth’s survival.
According to the Mother Nature Network “gas giant number five” started off bound together with Saturn and Jupiter and pushed out lighter planets including Neptune and Uranus eventually to be pushed out of the system on its own after a collision with Jupiter.
According to his work David said the planet was likely orbiting about 15 times further from the sun than our own planet.
His work shows that if another giant gas planet was not present it’s almost certain that the other four large gase-based planets in our solar system would have destroyed one another or Earth.