FANDOM


The following article describes how New Horizons would be used to locate a putative trans-Plutonian massive object, dubbed Planet X (PX), predicted earlier by Robert Sutton Harrington and Patryk Lykawka

The radio tracking apparatus of the New Horizons spacecraft, currently traveling to the Pluto system where its arrival is scheduled for July 2015, should be able to reach an accuracy of 10 m (range) and 0.1 mm s^-1 (range-rate) over distances up to 50 au. This should allow to effectively constrain the location of a putative trans-Plutonian massive object, dubbed Planet X (PX) hereafter, whose existence has recently been postulated for a variety of reasons connected with, e.g., the architecture of the Kuiper belt and the cometary flux from the Oort cloud. Traditional scenarios involve a rock-ice planetoid with mX = 0.7mE at some 100 - 200 au (Planet X, Lykawka and Harrington), or a Jovian body with mX = 5mJ at about 10,000 - 20,000 au (Tyche, Matese and Whitmire); as a result of our preliminary sensitivity analysis, they should be detectable by New Horizons since they would impact its range at a km level or so over a time span six years long. Conversely, range residuals statistically compatible with zero having an amplitude of 10 m would imply that PX, if it exists, could not be located at less than about 4,500 au (mX = 0.7mE) or 60,000 au (mX = 5mJ), thus making a direct detection quite demanding with the present-day technologies. As a consequence, it would be appropriate to rename such a remote body as Thelisto. Also fundamental physics would benefit from this analysis since certain subtle effects predicted by MOND for the deep Newtonian regions of our Solar System are just equivalent to those of a distant pointlike mass.

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.