Life may not have been possible on Earth without Jupiter

New simulations paint a picture of our solar system resembling an ornate clock. "Throw more gears into the mix and it all breaks."
By Chris Young | Interesting Engineering |

INTERESTING ENGINEERING - A new experiment shed new light on the role Jupiter has played in the evolution of life on Earth. In a series of simulations, scientists showed that an Earth-like planet orbiting between Mars and Jupiter would be able to alter Earth's orbit and push it out of the solar system.

Such an event would extricate Earth from its life support system, the Sun, and would therefore wipe out all life on our planet.

According to UC Riverside, The new experiment was devised to address two notable gaps in planetary science, according to UCR astrophysicist Stephen Kane.

The first is that there is no middle ground between smaller terrestrial Earth-like planets and larger gas giants like Neptune and Jupiter. "In other star systems, there are many planets with masses in that gap. We call them super-Earths," Kane explained.

The second gap is related to the fact that no planets exist between Mars and Jupiter. As Kane pointed out, "planetary scientists often wish something was in between those two planets. It seems like wasted real estate."



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