Some scientists believe that Jupiter might be the reason for life on Earth. However, is that accurate? Should we be thankful for the gas giant planet of our solar system?
What the astronomers know for sure is that our solar system is unique in the Universe, as far as they know, and no other system like ours has ever been discovered, yet. But this very unicity of our solar system might be due to the young Jupiter in the early stages of our planetary system’s formation when the gas giant might have been a rogue planet.
Well, we have Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars as inner planets in our solar system, all of which are also known as rocky or terrestrial planets because of their composition, while, on the other hand, there are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, our solar system’s gas giants. However, what makes our system unique is the distance between the host star, the Sun, and these gas giants, which is longer than in any other exosystem ever discovered.
Jupiter might be the reason for the unicity of our solar system, as well as for life on Earth
Thanks to NASA’s exoplanet hunters, like Kepler Space Telescope or the recently launched TESS, scientists were able to examine far-distant exoplanets and solar systems. None of those external systems is similar to our solar system.
While many astronomers have no clue why our planetary system is so different, some other scientists believe that Jupiter might be the reason for life on Earth and the unicity of the solar system we live in.
A model, known as the “Grand Track,” estimates that the young Jupiter began moving towards the Sun causing planets’ orbits to overlap triggering catastrophic collisions. Then, as Saturn started to form, Jupiter moved back and settled on the position it is on today. However, the debris left behind commenced building the second generation of planets or what we know today as the inner planets.
Even more, Jupiter might be the reason for life on Earth because, according to some astronomers, when the gas giant pulled back once Saturn started to form, its gravitational forces attracted the asteroids rich in ice residing beyond the so-called snow line. Accordingly, the Earth, still under formation back then, got enough ice from those space rocks, building the blocks of life.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.