Quantifying Jupiter’s influence on the Earth’s impact flux: implications for planetary habitability

Horner, Jonathan and Jones, Barrie W. (2012) Quantifying Jupiter’s influence on the Earth’s impact flux: implications for planetary habitability. In: 11th Australian Space Science Conference (ASSC 2011), 26-29 Sept 2011, Sydney, Australia.

Text (Accepted Version)

Download (570kB) | Preview


It has long been thought that the presence of a giant planet is a pre-requisite for the development of life on potentially habitable planets. Without Jupiter, it was argued, the Earth would have been subject to a punishing impact regime, which would have significantly
retarded or outright prevented the development of life on our planet. Although this idea is widely embraced, little research has previously been carried out to support it. Here, we present the results of several suites of dynamical integrations used to model the influence of Jupiter’s mass and orbit on the impact rate that would be experienced
by the Earth. We find that, far from being a simple shield, Jupiter’s role in determining the terrestrial impact flux is significantly more complicated than previously thought. Far from being a simple friend, such giant planets are perhaps more likely to imperil the development
of life on otherwise habitable planets.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 32754
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright © 2012 National Space Society of Australia Ltd. No evidence of copyright restrictions preventing deposit of Accepted version.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2017 05:35
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2017 03:14
Uncontrolled Keywords: astrobiology, rare Earth, impacts, comets, asteroids, planetary formation, Habitability, Exoplanets
Fields of Research (2008): 02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020110 Stellar Astronomy and Planetary Systems
Fields of Research (2020): 51 PHYSICAL SCIENCES > 5101 Astronomical sciences > 510109 Stellar astronomy and planetary systems
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/32754

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only