Re: meteoric collisions

carl feynman (
Thu, 18 Sep 1997 11:54:29 -0400

At 06:28 PM 9/16/97 -0400, Danny wrote:

>It seems that after billions of years the asteroids of the belt and the
>kuiper/oort clouds have settled into gravitational, mathematical
>relationships with each other, such as a symbiotic state. It would be
>interesting to know what that state is. Its probably still chaotic, but
>there must be order in that chaos by now, chaos attractors. Theres probably
>a higher order behind it all.

There is a higher order, which we understand fairly well but not
completely. There are, for example, gaps in the asteroid belt, produced by
the gravity of Jupiter and Saturn. Chaos theory is highly applicable; we
have only come to understand some of the behavior of the solar system in
recent years, now that we have chaos theory so we can predict stuff.

In the long run, the asteroid belt is not stable. It is slowly grinding
itself down to dust in a series of high-speed collisions, and the dust
spirals into the Sun because of light pressure. We're losing about half
the belt every two billion years.