Not Many Know! Turns out, a tweak in Jupiter’s orbit could help life on Earth

The appearance of a black spot on the planet Jupiter / NASA

JAKARTA, Jupiter isn’t just one big lump of gas in the Solar System. It’s much more than that. Jupiter absorbs a lot of space rock that moves towards the inner Solar System, Earth’s environment. This means that Jupiter may have saved us many times. Dinosaurs got bad luck, it seems.

But now, a new study says that if Jupiter changed its orbit slightly, it would increase the habitability of planet Earth.

Jupiter’s orbit around the Sun is almost entirely circular. This is not true about other planets including Earth. Its orbit is ‘eccentric’, that is, it is oval in shape. The degree to which a planet’s orbit tends to be oval in shape is called eccentricity.

Jupiter’s orbital eccentricity is low because it is almost circular. It is quite logical to imagine that if Jupiter’s orbit were changed in any way, a planet with massive gravity would affect the orbits of other planets in the Solar System.

Researchers from the University of California, Riverside have published a study in which they say that if Jupiter’s orbit becomes ‘eccentric’, it may have a positive impact on habitability on Earth.

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“Many believe that Earth is the epitome of a habitable planet and that any change in the orbit of Jupiter, as a massive planet, will only have a negative impact on Earth,” said Pam Vervoort, lead author of the study.

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“We show that both assumptions are wrong.”

The study states that changes in Jupiter’s orbit will change the eccentricity of Earth’s orbit. This will result in melting of the ice to some extent and the region will be more habitable.

The study has been published in The Astronomical Journal. (nda)

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