Will orbital chaos cause Earth, Venus and Mars to collide?

Author's Note

Writing this made me think of a phrase I often read when I was a kid: "the clockwork precision of the universe." Apparently, the universe isn't running with the quiet regularity of a sweeping second hand. As space telescopes and supercomputers look across the cosmos and far into the future, we're finding an unsettled, uncertain universe. But don't stop paying your taxes just yet -- it seems the Internal Revenue Service won't be going away anytime soon.

Related Articles


  • Agence France-Presse. "Earth-Mars collision possible, says study." Cosmos Magazine. June 11, 2009. (Feb. 20, 2012) http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/2803/when-worlds-collide-earth-mars-impact-possible
  • Atkinson, Nancy. "Is Venus' Rotation Slowing Down?" Universe Today. Feb. 10, 2012. (Feb. 20, 2012) http://www.universetoday.com/93494/is-venus-rotation-slowing-down/
  • BBC News. "Traces of planet collision found." Aug. 11, 2009. (Feb. 20, 2012) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8195467.stm
  • GENCI. "GENCI's new 147 TF SGI/Intel processor based supercomputer." Nov. 20, 2008. (Feb. 20, 2012) http://www.genci.fr/spip.php?article32
  • Jacques Laskar Web site. (Feb. 20, 2012) http://www.imcce.fr/Equipes/ASD/person/Laskar/jxl_collision.html
  • Laskar, Jacques and Mickaël Gastineau. "Existence of collisional trajectories of Mercury, Mars and Venus with the Earth." Nature Letters. June 11, 2009.
  • Lovett, Richard A. "Evidence of Huge Planetary Collision Found." National Geographic. Jan. 10, 2008. (Feb. 20, 2012) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/01/080110-worlds-collide.html
  • Palca, Joe. "Colliding Planets (Don't Panic)." NPR ScienceFriday. June 12, 2009. (Feb. 20, 2012) http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/200906122
  • Shiga, David. "Probe's targets cloud 'crystal ball' for solar system." New Scientist. July 15, 2011. (Feb. 20, 2012) http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21128223.100-probes-targets-cloud-crystal-ball-for-solar-system.html