The role of Jupiter in driving Earth’s orbital evolution: an update

Horner, Jonathan and Gilmore, James B. and Waltham, Dave (2015) The role of Jupiter in driving Earth’s orbital evolution: an update. In: 14th Australian Space Research Conference (ASRC 2014), 29 Sept - 1 Oct 2014, Adelaide, Australia.

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In the coming decades, the discovery of the first truly Earth-like exoplanets is anticipated. The characterisation of those planets will play a vital role in determining which are chosen as targets for the search for life beyond the Solar system. One of the many variables that will be considered in that characterisation and selection process is the nature of the potential climatic variability of the exoEarths in question.

In our own Solar system, the Earth’s long-term climate is driven by several factors – including the modifying influence of life on our atmosphere, and the temporal evolution of Solar luminosity. The gravitational influence of the other planets in our Solar system add an extra complication – driving the Milankovitch cycles that are thought to have caused the ongoing series of glacial and interglacial periods that have dominated Earth’s climate for the past few million years.

Here, we present the results of a large suite of dynamical simulations that investigate the influence of the giant planet Jupiter on the Earth’s Milankovitch cycles. If Jupiter was located on a different orbit, we find that the long-term variability of Earth’s orbit would be significantly different. Our results illustrate how small differences in the architecture of planetary systems can result in marked changes in the potential habitability of the planets therein, and are an important first step in developing a means to characterise the nature of
climate variability on planets beyond our Solar system.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright © 2015 National Space Society of Australia Ltd. No evidence of copyright restrictions preventing deposit of Accepted version.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2016 06:20
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2017 00:22
Uncontrolled Keywords: astrobiology; exoplanets; exo-earths; habitability; Jupiter; Milankovitch cycles
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 > 020101 Astrobiology

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