Jupiter: friend or foe? I: The asteroids

Horner, J. and Jones, B. W. (2008) Jupiter: friend or foe? I: The asteroids. International Journal of Astrobiology , 7 (3/4). pp. 251-261. ISSN 1473-5504

Abstract

The asteroids are a major source of potential impactors on the Earth today. It has long been assumed that the giant planet Jupiter acts as a shield, significantly lowering the impact rate on the Earth from both cometary and asteroidal bodies. Such shielding, it is claimed, enabled the development and evolution of life in a collisional environment, which is not overly hostile. The reduced frequency of impacts, and of related mass extinctions, would have allowed life the time to thrive, where it would otherwise have been suppressed. However, in the past, little work has been carried out to examine the validity of this idea. In the first of several papers, we examine the degree to which the impact risk resulting from a population representative of the asteroids is enhanced or reduced by the presence of a giant planet, in an attempt to understand fully the impact regime under which life on Earth developed. Our results show that the situation is far less clear cut that has previously been assumed, that is, the presence of a giant planet can act to enhance the impact rate of asteroids on the Earth significantly.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2008 Cambridge University Press. Published version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2014 02:51
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2014 00:10
Uncontrolled Keywords: asteroids; comets; minor planets; planets and satellites; solar system formation
Fields of Research : 02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020110 Stellar Astronomy and Planetary Systems
02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020108 Planetary Science (excl. Extraterrestrial Geology)
02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020101 Astrobiology
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1017/S1473550408004187
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/25350

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