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Jupiter is Not a Planetary Shield But Has Contributed to Life Formation on Earth

Jupiter might not be a protective shield for our planet after all. However, this does not mean it is has not been important to us. It might have redirected important particles towards the Earth that would provide conducive conditions for the development of life.

jupiter and earth

Jupiter is thought to shield planet Earth from incoming comets, as goes the famous theory. A new study, however, challenges this concept and, instead, mentions another role of the large planet in the evolution of life on ours. The paper is published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

The conclusion that Jupiter might have a different (but still important) role pertaining to the Earth was made following the analysis of a simulation involving 10,000 particles evolving in the spaces between the gas giants ( also known as Jovian planets, namely Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) over a period of around 100 million years. One of the authors, Kevin Grazier from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasaden, explains that their findings show Jupiter has not constituted a planetary shield but that, together with Saturn, it sent a considerable amount of particles from the outer solar system into the inner solar system and into orbits along the Earth’s path; these materials are said to have been necessary for the formation of life.

According to this simulation, Jupiter has done the opposite of what it is widely thought to do. Rather than keeping harmful objects away from the Earth, it has redirected certain beneficial particles to it. These compounds might have contributed to the formation of the Earth’s atmosphere and hydrosphere.

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