Published by the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas (founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann)
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Kuiper Belt Missions Could Reveal the Solar System’s Origins

Michael D. Lemonick at Scientific American
"Just a bit more than 20 years ago, in fact, nobody even knew that the Kuiper belt existed. Since then, planetary scientists have discovered a handful of frozen worlds that approach and even rival Pluto in size. They have seen evidence that points to a long-ago violent reshuffling of the orbits of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune—and maybe even to the existence of a lost fifth giant planet. They have analyzed the sizes and orbits of the 1,500 or so known Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) to get a handle on how the belt itself took shape—wondering whether crashing icefalls from the nascent Kuiper belt once bestowed oceans on a young, dry Earth."

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