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No Jupiter, No Advanced Life?

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December 13, 2012 in Offbeat


“No Jupiter, No Advanced Life? ” –Evolution May be Impossible in Star Systems Without a Giant Planet

What are the implications of a star systems missing a massive gas giant such as our Solar Systems’ Jupiter –it could imply conditions of massive bombardment from comets and asteeoids that would prevent the development of advanced life.

The artist’s impression below of the debris disc and planets around the star known as Gliese 581, superimposed on Herschel PACS images at 70, 100 and 160 micrometre wavelengths. The line drawing superimposed on the Herschel image gives a schematic representation of the location and orientation of the star, planets and disc, albeit not to scale. GJ 581’s planets have masses between 2 and 15 Earth masses and are all located within 0.22 Astronomical Units (AU, where 1 AU is the distance between Earth and our Sun) of the central star. Minus a Jupiter-like gas giant, a vast debris disc extends from approximately 25 AU to 60 AU.

Two NASA astronomers recently suggested that the size and location of an asteroid belt, shaped by the evolution of the sun’s planet-forming disk and by the gravitational influence of a nearby giant Jupiter-like planet, may determine whether complex life will evolve on an Earth-like planet.

Read more at:http://www.dailygalaxy.com

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