We take life for granted without realizing how vulnerable we are….
On September 10th, 2012, during a routine observation of Jupiter, an astronomer in US spotted an explosion in Jupiter. Presumably an asteroid hitting the giant planet, (though astronomers are still searching for a scar on Jupiter that will prove if it was a real impact). In the last 3 years there have been 4 major hits on Jupiter. So what ? For those who are not into astronomy this may look like just another celestial event, but no, it is very significant.
For life to originate and thrive, many things need to come together. To begin with we need an average sized star like Sun that is neither too cold or too hot situated in the outer reaches of a galaxy away from the claustrophobic galactic core. Then we need a planet that is neither too big or too small, about the size of Earth, with an axial tilt that will ensure people near the equator do not get fried and those away from it do not get frozen. Then this planet needs to be placed in an area called the Goldilock Zone, the area around a star that is habitable. One of the characteristics of a Goldilock Zone is that it needs to have a giant planet like Jupiter in the neighborhood so that it can attract and gobble up most of the meteors, comets and asteroids which would otherwise hit the planets in the Goldilock Zone, wiping out life. Something like a big space based vacuum cleaner or a giant bodyguard.
This explosion is probably one such “sacrifice” by the good old Jupiter to save us. It had done innumerable times in the past. The last significant one was in 1994 when it took the full brunt of Comet Shoemaker-Levy. Next time when you see that bright star like object (Jupiter) in the evening sky in winter, say a silent thank you for protecting us.
Courtesy: Mail, no Idea 🙂