Humans will be Able to Visit Planet 9 If It Exists, Expert Says

Ninth Planet

Several cosmic experts strongly believe that there is a mysterious planet that is lurking at the edges of our solar system.

Even though no evidence of such a planet has been discovered yet, some space scientists are not ruling out the possibility of discovering such a space body in the future.

According to these experts, this space body, often dubbed, Planet 9 could be real because around a dozen objects beyond the orbit of Neptune, move as if a large object is tugging on them.

They also believe that this mysterious space body will be discovered in the near future when Vera C. Rubin Observatory starts surveying night skies in 2025.

Exploring Planet 9

If humans discover Planet 9, then the ultimate question will be whether space agencies like NASA or private firms including SpaceX will send probes to this cosmic body. However, this requires a proper plan and approval.

Andreas Hein, a space systems engineer at the University of Luxembourg, told Live Science that this procedure could take at least a decade because missions have to go through a lengthy and rigorous government selection process.

However, Manasvi Lingam, a theoretical astrobiologist at the Florida Institute of Technology, told Live Science that the speed of beginning such a mission will be dependent on the evidence humans gather about this mystery cosmic body.

"If Planet 9 is anomalous in some respect, there could be more interest in expediting such a mission," said Lingam.

Can humans reach Planet 9?

In 2022, Hein and Lingam, along with part-time astronomer Adam Hibbder had attempted to answer this crucial question.

In a paper which is not peer-reviewed, they suggested that it would likely take between 45 and 75 years for a spacecraft to reach Planet Nine.

These calculations were based on the assumption that Planet 9 is around 400 astronomical units from the sun on average.

However, later studies suggested that Planet 9 could be actually 500 astronomical units from the sun on average.

Lingam noted that it is difficult to see how a probe could reach Planet 9 with current technologies.

Lingam, however, expressed optimism and said that reaching this space body could be easy if humans develop advanced propulsion technologies.

In 2022, researchers suggested that a light sail could take as little as seven years to reach Planet Nine. However, it could take at least 20 years for light sails to become a reality.

"I am confident that in the far future, humans will be able to visit Planet 9," said Hein.

This article was first published on June 25, 2024