Our solar system has a potentially violent future.
New computer simulations reveal a slight chance that a disruption of planetary orbits could lead to a collision of Earth with Mercury, Mars or Venus in the next few billion years.
Despite its diminutive size, Mercury poses the greatest risk to the solar system's order.
Results of the computer model show a roughly 1 percent chance that the elongation of Mercury's orbit will increase to the point where the planet's path around the sun crosses that of Venus.
That's when planetary pandemonium would ensue, the researchers find, and Mercury could be ejected from the solar system, or collide with the sun or a neighboring planet, such as Earth.
The researchers, Jacques Laskar and Mickael Gastineau of the Paris Observatory, ran computer simulations involving 2,501 scenarios with different planetary orbits.
If the increase in elongation of Mercury's orbit results in its collision with the sun or with Venus, the simulations showed the rest of the solar system wouldn't be affected much.
But in some less likely scenarios, the change to Mercury's orbit leads to a total destabilization of the inner solar system (the terrestrial planets) in about 3.3 billion years, possibly triggering collisions of Mercury, Mars or Venus with Earth.
"The most surprising outcome is the destabilization of the orbit of Earth and Venus," Laskar said during a telephone interview.
The result is a Venus-Earth bang-up.
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If you think the results of the computer model showing a roughly 1 percent chance that the elongation of Mercury's orbit will increase to the point where the planet's path around the sun crosses that of Venus are a long shot.
Evolutionist Harold Morowitz estimated the probability for chance formation of even the simplest form of living organism at 1/10340,000,000. By comparison only 1020 grains of sand could fit within a cubic mile and 10 billion times more (1030) would fit inside the entire earth. So, the probability of forming a simple cell by chance processes is infinitely less likely than having a blind person select one specifically marked grain of sand out of an entire earth filled with sand.