Skip to main content

Rewriting the History of our Solar System

Uranus, as seen from the surface of one of its five large moons: Oberon, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania or Miranda.

This ScienceLives article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation. As a planetary scientist, Bill Bottke can investigate uncharted territory in space and work with other scientists to come up with new ideas about how our solar system formed . . . all from the comfort of his office on Earth. Recently, Bill discussed a new model that suggests Uranus and Neptune may not have started out in the positions we see them in today. He and others are exploring the idea that a collision event and the effects of gravity may have caused the planets to dramatically migrate to new locations nearly a half billion years after their formation. Watch his answers to the ScienceLives Questions below. Name: Bill Bottke Age: 45 Institution: Southwest Research Institute Field of Study: Planetary Science

Editor's Note: This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the federal agency charged with funding basic research and education across all fields of science and engineering. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. See the ScienceLives archive.