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ZetaTalk: Red Planet
Note: written during the 2001 sci.astro debates. Planet X and the 12th Planet are one and the same.

If Planet X is primarily a water planet, then why would it appear to be a red planet, as Mars, which is virtually devoid of water on its surface? Why would it not, as the Earth, appear to be a blue planet? The explanation lies in the space trash Planet X has gathered not only traversing back and forth between its two foci but also from the Asteroid Belt during the pelting process where the planets that rode there were destroyed during various passages of Planet X. Early in its life, Planet X gathered moons about it as do most large planets, and these moons trail behind it during a rapid transit. In the past, when the Sun had more mass and the Repulsion Force between the Sun and Planet X was greater, Planet X traversed the solar system in the Asteroid belt, and the trailing moons, lashing from side to side, pelted small planets and moon which themselves became missiles of death. During these repeated passages, then, Planet X and its moons had opportunity to gather space trash, and being a magnetic planet, Planet X would be particularly attractive to iron dust.

Why does this dust not settle into the atmosphere of Planet X, and drift down into the ocean and cease to be a cloud giving Planet X a reddish appearance? Given a static environment, this would eventually be the case, but Planet X is not static, it's perpetually on the move. The dust cloud is far outside what would be termed the atmosphere of Planet X, so that during the passage through the solar system, it streams behind Planet X to become a long tail of red dust, oxidized iron, which during a close passage to Earth, when Earth is caught in the tail, causes rivers and ponds to temporarily turn a blood red color and assume a bitter taste. To those peering at Planet X from Earth, its appearance is always blood red, due to this cloud. In that the iron dust does not itself emit light, the reddish appearance of Planet X comes from the light the planet emits, passed through the red dust. When Planet X is close enough to reflect sunlight, the light must likewise bounces off the ocean surface and must pass through the red dust to return to those peering at it from Earth.

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