Their orbital periods were: Earth 360 days, Mars 720 days (1:2), Jupiter 4320 days (1:12), Saturn 10,800 days (1:30), and Uranus 30,240 days (1:84), all based on an Earth day of about 25 of our hours. Neptune may have resonated with Earth at 60,480 days (1:168), but Pluto did not, though it did resonate with Neptune. Around 1451 BC Venus / Mercury also settled into resonance with Earth on a period of 225 days (8:5). This made the close passes and catastrophes of the planets very predictable, down to the day and hour.

This accomplished several things. First, the interaction between the planets was so strong that it basically locked them all together in their orbits. None could decay until the drag on the system exceeded the combined resonant forces of all the planets (or until a non-resonant body interfered). This system was thus perpetuated until 701 BC, when Venus / Mercury battled Mars during its flyby over Earth, and the resonant system unraveled.

The second thing it did was to perpetuate the catastrophic orbits. It was the close pass between planets that recharged their magnetic and electrostatic fields, keeping them tightly linked. Mars, for example, remained in close coupling with Earth in extremely precise orbits for about 4400 years.

The third thing it did, believe it or not, was to work to prevent collisions! Each close pass would tighten up the orbit‘s ellipse, overcoming the forces working to circularize the orbit. There is a rather intricate but very specific ’path of least resistance‘ which defines a resonant orbit for two interacting bodies. Each planetary flyby involved huge stresses, including not only gravitational and heating effects, but also electrostatic and magnetic attraction and repulsion effects which dramatically complicate that path. Consider the two extremes, using Mars and Earth as our examples. If Mars is too far from Earth (as it is now) all those forces are not strong enough to ’excite‘ any resonance. Earth has little effect on Mars, and each is left to find its own decaying orbit around Sol. In the other extreme, if Mars passes too close (assuming it survives as a planet) its orbit will be bent so badly that it will have to find a whole new orbit around Sol, perhaps to try again. In either case, its first pass on that particular orbit is its last!


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