Planet V

Not to be confused with Phaëton, a proposed and debunked predecesor to the asteroid belt. Also not to be confused with Ceres, which was once thought to be the fifth terrestrial planet.

This hypothetical planemo (planetary mass object), proposed by John Chambers and Jack J. Lissauer in 2002, is speculated to be the cause for the Late Heavy Bombardment, a period somewhere around 4.1 to 3.8 billion years ago that may have featured a greater than average amount of asteroid impacts on the inner planets. In this model, a body around 0.25 the mass of Mars orbiting between Mars and the asteroid belt crosses into the inner Solar System, and then either gets flung into interstellar space or falls into the sun. This model is in competition with the more commonly-proposed Nice model.

Planet V is so named because it could be considered to have once been the fifth terrestrial planet. If it existed, I award it with the following symbol, and if it didn't, I give it one anyway: a capital letter V with a horizontal line going through it, representing its crossing into the inner Solar System, and a dot above, representing its point of departure and/or untimely demise. I hope, if it ever gets verified as having existed, it gets a cooler name.

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