Mercury is the most unstable planet of the solar system, with an oscillating orbital eccentricity (between 0 to 0.45). It seems there is a 1% probability in the next 5 billion years Jupiter and Mercury might enter in a 1:1 orbital resonance.

The ending variants for this event are :

  1. colliding with Venus
  2. colliding with the Sun
  3. being ejected from solar system.

Can it hit other targets on its way out of the solar system beside those enumerated, like Earth, Mars or the outer planets?

  • $\begingroup$ Try to read more carefully the article. First of all it says: there is 1% chance that the planet may collide with Venus within the next five billion years, that is different from a more generic cataclysmic end. It also talks about a possible future resonant perihelion interaction, it does NOT say that the Jupiter-Mercury system has a 1:1 orbital resonance right now. $\endgroup$
    – Py-ser
    May 7 '14 at 3:41
  • $\begingroup$ @Py-ser thanks for the suggestions, I edited the question $\endgroup$
    – symbiotech
    May 7 '14 at 8:12
  • $\begingroup$ You are very welcome, but try to read carefully the suggestions as well, and then edit again ;) Also, put a reference for your last sentence in the topic. $\endgroup$
    – Py-ser
    May 7 '14 at 8:50
  • $\begingroup$ The "1:1" refers to a common ratio of a body's orbital and rotational periods, in contrast with Mercury's actual ratio of 3:2. The article does not say anything about any kind of 1:1 resonance between Mercury and Jupiter; rather it discusses a possible interaction between Mercury and Jupiter. $\endgroup$ May 7 '14 at 19:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Gerald: It says they may "fall into sync"; that's not a 1:1 resonance. $\endgroup$ May 7 '14 at 20:00

Yes, after a close encounter with other planets, almost anything can happen, including a split of Mercury into smaller bodies by tidal forces, or capturing as one or more moons of one or more planets, or a sequence of captures by, and escapes from planets, conversion to a ring of all or some of the fragments, collisions with other moons, fragments falling into the Sun, others ejected from the solar system.


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