Here’s to Planet X
January 31, 2016 · Planet X
A famous physicist proclaimed recently that we are reaching the limits of what we can know and understand about the world through science. And when asked why, he said, “Because the laws of physics forbid it.”
It’s a fascinating topic worth researching, but it’s the reason I was happy to hear about the potential discovery of a new planet spinning away in our own solar system. It’ll give us something to mull over for a while.
If true, I think it might be one of the most tremendous discoveries in our lifetime. It’s like learning you’ve had a family member living in the attic your whole life whom you’ve never met.
There are certain facts we’ve taken for granted our whole lives – like there are 26 letters in the alphabet and there are nine planets (counting poor Pluto) and there are five food groups and we have 10 toes and there are seven continents.
And now suddenly, everything we thought we knew – those things we recite verbatim – has been turned upside down. To me, it’s as novel as if someone decided to interject a new number between three and four.
There’s been plenty of study on the planets – dating all the way back to the Babylonians in the second century BC, so it’s not as if we’ve been cavalier about space. It’s not as if we’ve always said, “Yeah, there’s probably something like seven or eight planets spinning around out there.” Science has been pretty decisive.
According to astronomers who led the study at Caltech, the evidence for a new planet comes from observations of dwarf planets that orbit the sun beyond Neptune. The dwarf planets take an unusual orbital path, one they say that can only be explained by an unseen nearby astronomical body.
But here’s the cool part: All kinds of people and civilizations have been throwing this idea out there for centuries – this idea that there is a planet in our solar system that we don’t know about, and they’ve always called it “Planet X.”
Now some of this gets into murky waters, but just for the fun of it, let’s take a look.
It’s been said that the Sumerians, who lived in Mesopotamia (Iraq) in 4,000 BC, referred to a distant planet in their cuneiform text. Fast forward to 1976 and enter a Russian-American named Zecharia Sitchin who was an acclaimed scholar of ancient manuscripts (recently passed away), who spent a career translating Sumerian texts presented on 6,000-year-old clay tablets.
In his translations, he points to a reference by the Sumerians to a “12th planet,” which only makes sense if you know that the Sumerians counted Pluto and the sun and the moon as planets. The Sumerians called this distant planet “Nibiru” and said it was in the backwaters of our solar system, somewhere behind Neptune.
Before you call this learned man a quack, note that he found an astonishing array of facts that can be corroborated by modern research, and according to scholarly reviewers of his book, what he found was literally mind boggling in 1976, and it remains so today. His trailblazing books have been translated into 20 languages and have been sold by the millions. In them, he attempts to rewrite man’s origins as told by the Sumerians, but that’s a story for another day.
Scientists have continued to look for Planet X over the years, although some time in the 1990s it was abandoned. The man behind the new claims is Mike Brown from Caltech, who had this to say about his discovery:
“If you ever say, ‘We think we have found evidence for Planet X,’ the first reaction of any astronomer is, ‘Oh, you’re one of those crazy people.’ And that’s a perfectly reasonable reaction. There’s been so much craziness over these things over the past century that there’s no reason to believe that somebody is going to come along who’s not crazy and say the same thing. Except, I think we’re right this time rather than crazy.”
There is so much we don’t know about who we are. There is an ancient history on earth that is, quite frankly, befuddling. I see it in the faces of the archaeologists I work with and in the contradicting theories on man’s origins.
But there’s something exciting about possibly collaborating our modern reality with 6,000-year-old Sumerian texts, and it gives me hope that some day we’ll have a better understanding of who we are.