The article amusingly starts with “Jupiter, that blustery ball of noxious gas, …” to reinforce that the Earth has a complex relationship with the other planets. The Gizmodo article clarifies that “Jupiter’s inward migration swept rocky planetesimals into the Sun, effectively clearing out the inner solar system” which was likely very important for the Earth as we know it today.
Originally shared by SETI Institute
The Bizarre Way Jupiter Helped Life Evolve on Earth
“It’s been taught somewhat dogmatically, that Jupiter protects our solar system,” astrophysicist Kevin Grazier told Gizmodo. “But that’s just not how it works at all.”
Indeed, the so-called Jupiter shield hypothesis hasn’t held up under scientific scrutiny, and Grazier’s latest JPL-funded research, which appears next month in the journal Astrobiology, may lay the idea to rest once and for all. His models show that Jupiter doesn’t—and never has—protected Earth from unruly space rocks. Rather, the prodigious gravity of Jupiter and Saturn has been slinging icy material our way for eons.
What’s more, those comets probably delivered the water, oxygen, and other volatiles that are essential to life as we know it. Without Jupiter’s rain of cometary terror, life on Earth may never have evolved.
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