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A Quadrillion Space Rocks Beyond Neptune

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posted on Aug, 16 2006 @ 01:43 AM
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Dozens of rocky bodies that are part of a sea of small rocky
fragments never observed before have been spotted in the
suburbs of our solar system beyond planet Neptune,
thanks to a novel technique.

These newly detected chunks of dust and rock coined
Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNO) are smaller than
330 feet (100 meters) across. They are leftovers from the
formation of planets.

Based on this finding, the researchers estimate that the number
of TNOs reaches around a quadrillion, rather than the mere
billions to a trillion as previously thought.

This shows an extremely dense disk of material at the outer
edges of the solar system mostly populated by smaller bodies,
Cooray said. "Since these are leftover material from the solar
system formation process, it says that the original disk from
which the planets formed was more massive at distances around
Neptune than previously suggested and in strong conflict with
some of the early models for the formation of Kuiper Belt Objects."

SOURCE:
Space.com

I went slackjawed when I read this, I honestly never though there would be a quadrillion anything (apart from atoms) in our Solar System.

I wonder how much of it is mineable, just think a huge resource ricvh area.


Comments, Opinions?




posted on Aug, 16 2006 @ 07:03 AM
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Consider how enormous the area in which they exist is. The Oort Cloud extends roughly one light year from the sun. There are roughly 5.86x10^12 miles in one light year. Convert that to cubic miles of volume that these quadrillion objects could exist in:

Somebody check my math here....

(4/3)*(pi)*(5.86x10^12)^3

That's 8.43x10^38 cubic miles. You'd normally have to subtract out Neptune's orbit, but the difference is so insignificant that its not worth doing. So dividing this number by one quadrillion, on average, you would have one of these objects every 8.43x10^26 cubic miles.

So while there are a LOT of these objects out there, the distances between them are probably ridiculously large.



posted on Aug, 16 2006 @ 07:15 AM
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Wow, space is pretty big.

As for mining, I'm betting the asteroid field would be more feasable.



 
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