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Solar system's future could be bumpy

Study calculates the odds that two planets collide or one crashes into sun in the next 5 billion years

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1:51pm, June 10, 2009

It’s happened before, and it could happen again: Planets in the inner solar system may collide if gravitational interactions substantially disturb now-stable orbits, a new study suggests.

Scientists and mathematicians have long known that the equations describing the orbital motions of any group of three or more objects can’t be solved exactly. Even with the most powerful computers, it is hopeless to try to determine precisely what planetary orbits will look like more than a few million years in the future, says Jacques Laskar of the Pa

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