Most Remote Object Sedna a Dwarf Planet in our Solar System
Our Solar System is made up of millions of objects, all moving and influenced by the slow and steady attractive force of gravity.
While gravity is one of the weakest forces known to science, it has the advantage of operating over vast time scales, and much like water wears down rock, gravity slowly shifts the largest and smallest of objects into specific positions and orbits.
While we have explored many of the objects in our solar system from afar, to date we have very limited direct knowledge of only a handful of the bodies in our Solar System. We’ve landed probes, and rovers, we’ve put people on the moon, but our exploration of the Solar System is still in its infancy.
One of the objects that is most distant, cold, and dark, that we have little direct knowledge about is Sedna.
Far out, beyond Pluto’s orbit is a dwarf planet called Sedna. At the time of its discovery, it was thought to be the 2nd largest planet of its type, behind only Pluto as a dwarf planet. However further discoveries have updated its place in our Solar System to be the 5th largest dwarf planets.
It is around 942 astronomical units from our sun and therefore it takes around 11,500 years to orbit the sun. This makes for a very long year indeed. Sedna appears to be a barren, cold environment, which is covered in ice. Even though it is incredibly far away, and little light reaches it, the icy surface is reflective, and this helps it stand out against the dark backdrop of the universe.
Little is known about the tiny planet, and no missions are planned to visit it, even though it was discovered almost 30 years ago.
Sedna has a very elliptical orbit, that takes it even further out from the sun, around 3 times further away at its furthest point. Any missions to this dwarf planet, would need to be carried out based on the very long time scale of its year and at the point it is closest to the sun, in around 1500 years time.