First the Earth was described as round. Then it was thought to be flat. But evidence overturned that. Number of deaths from falling off the edge of the Earth since = zero.
Around that time, it was also thought that all celestial objects revolved around the Earth. The known universe was basically our solar system. But Copernicus changed everything with the hypothesis that Earth and other objects revolved around the Sun. He published his work after waiting until he was on his death bed to avoid being punished by the Church, which was the educational establishment and authority at the time. They liked to make the rules. Science began underground, out of the view of the Church, and for good reason. And then Galileo changed everything. Using the newly invented telescope, he observed moons orbiting Jupiter, confirming Copernicus' postulation. To bad he was imprisoned for it.
After Galileo, more people looked to the skies and began discovering even more. Huygens discovered Saturn less than 50 years later. But it would be another century and a quarter before Herschel discovered the next planet, Uranus. Nearly two centuries after Galileo's discoveries, Neptune was discovered. Almost another century later, Pluto was discovered. The ninth planet! But poor little Pluto was downgraded to a dwarf planet just this century. At this time we were starting to discover more and more dwarf planets out in the outer reaches of the solar system. And we're still discovering more!
Around the time that Uranus was discovered (mid-1800s), scientists thought that there was something else out there beyond the ice giants. Another one. By studying the fluctuations of orbits, scientists could predict planets and moons. Thus, Planet X, the tenth planet was hypothesized. It was a giant, 4-8 times the size of Earth, and had an eccentric orbit. And then the possible occurrence of a giant planet orbiting the sun with an elliptical path was a reality. What did this mean to Earth? It was thought to have caused large-scale phenomena in cycles thought to coincide with close encounters with Planet X (like the biblical flooding and parting of the Red Sea). But was this real? I've even read about alien civilizations that supposedly live on Planet X. And there's doomsday prophecies. Seems like everything predicts the end for those who choose to see that. I try to be objective though. I researched Planet X a few years ago, and I found that there was no Planet X. NASA said it didn't exist.
Today, things changed. Just like that. We overturned the assumptions of the flat Earth and objects orbiting us with overwhelming evidence, and now this planet has just become a reality. Caltech scientists announced that they have found indirect evidence of an icy giant planet beyond Pluto with an eccentric orbit. Now the Planet X communities are going crazy! But since Pluto was denounced as a planet earlier this century, this is being called Planet Nine.
What does this discovery mean to us?
Like I always say (yes, always), there's more to the universe than what we know. I'm one of the crazies hypothesizing the Omniverse—the big picture and the mother of our universe and all of its parallels. And I am a scientist. I think rationally about things while still maintaining an open mind. A clear mind becomes an open channel.
Notice how easily you can visualize a planet coming into our port of the solar system on an orbit that lasts about 20,000 years. The meaning behind this is that old facts can be overturned with new observation. Or the scientific establishment of the time didn't have enough information. But not having information on something unknown doesn't ever disapprove its existence. The same goes for the vision of a round planet. And more complex solar systems, clusters, and galaxies. They were envisioned before they were discovered. In this case, over a century and a half went by until evidence was found for Planet Nine.
And now for the next questions. How close to the Sun does it get? Will it fly by Earth, and if so, how can that affect the planet? If it's an icy planet and it comes into the sweet spot or Goldilocks Zone, it could literally come to life for thousands of years! But given its position now behind Pluto, and if its orbit is 20,000 years, it would be thousands of years before ever getting close.
Now imagine the technology we'll have in a couple thousand years, and visualize a transportation system between planets when it's close to us. What of we once had this technology and left stuff for ourselves on the other planet? Don't believe something won't happen for lack of data. That just means anything can happen.