Everyone knows that thousands of broken fragments of rock and metal known as asteroids exist between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. It is no surprise that since the discovery of asteroids astronomers have wondered if all this cosmic debris is actually the remnants of a long ago exploded planet.
The Titius-Bode Law of 1776, implemented by German mathematician Johann Titius and later popularized by astronomer Johann Bode supports this theory. The law is based on a series of numbers – 0, 3, 6,12,24,48 and 96. Note that each number is twice the preceding number with the exception of the first two numbers. Now adding 4 to each number the series becomes 4,7,10,16,28,52 and 100. Marking the Earth’s distance from the Sun in units, this series denotes an great accuracy of the distances between the planets Mercury through Saturn and the Sun – Mercury at 4, Venus at 7, Earth at 10, Mars at 15, Jupiter at 52 and Saturn at 95. All of these are in very close agreement with the Titius-Bode Law. The problem is there is no planet at number 28 marking the space between Mars and Jupiter.
This gave early astronomers food for thought and circa 1800 a group of astronomers met in Lilienthal, Germany and agreed to search the skies for the missing planet. Although many asteroids were discovered named and numbered no other evidence was found in what became known as the asteroid belt. In contemporary times interest still exists regarding the missing planet theory and a Russian academician Sergei Orloff has even named the missing planet Phaeton after the son of a Greek god who was destroyed by the gods because he drove his chariot so recklessly he scorched the Earth and would have annihilated it had he been allowed to continue. Adding to the story, Russian writer Aleksandr Kazantsez and his friend Professor Felix Zigel further theorize that the civilization that once populated Phaeton invented thermo-nuclear weapons millions of years ago and its misuse led to the destruction of the “missing planet.”