Jupiter: friend or foe

Horner, Jonathan A. and Jones, Barrie W. (2010) Jupiter: friend or foe. In: Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon 2010): Evolution and Life: Surviving Catastrophes and Extremes on Earth and Beyond , 26-29 Apr 2010, League City, TX. United States.

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Abstract

It has long been believed that the planet Jupiter has played an important role in the development of life on Earth. Without the particular size and placement of Jupiter, it is argued, the Earth would have experienced a greatly enhanced flux of impacts from asteroids and comets, hindering or entirely preventing the development of life.
Despite the vigour with which this belief is held, very little work has been performed to examine the effect of Jupiter on the terrestrial impact flux. We have now completed the first detailed study on the effect of Jupiter's mass on the impact rate of the three types of potentially hazardous objects - the Near Earth Asteroids, the Short Period Comets, and the Long Period Comets. Although a massive Jupiter does act to whittle down the population of Long Period comets threatening the Earth, its role in managing the threat from Near Earth Asteroids and Short Period Comets is much less clear. Indeed, it seems that the impact risk from these families of object is significantly higher in Solar Systems with a Jupiter-mass planet than in those without, although the greatest level of 'threat' is posed by a planet in a Jupiter-like orbit with a mass similar to that of Saturn. Above this mass the hazard falls away significantly.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Poster)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - No Department
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2014 01:31
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2014 06:53
Uncontrolled Keywords: comets; planets; asteroids
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
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/25549

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