A study has found that the largest planet in our solar system – Jupiter – is sling shooting objects into the inner solar system that could impact the Earth. It was earlier believed that Jupiter protects Earth from asteroids but new theory has suggested that it may be doing more harm.
Space expert Kevin Grazier has questioned the Jupiter Shield Theory, which said that Jupiter acts as a celestial shielf to protect Earth from any harmful object. Grazier has published several paper explaining why he feels that Jupiter is a ‘sniper rather than a shield’.
“Actually, I wouldn’t say that it’s in jeopartdy — I would say that it has been laid to rest,” Grazier said about the Jupiter Shield Theory. “Our simulations show that Jupiter is just as likely to send comets at Earth as deflect them away and we’ve seen that in the real solar system.”
Grazier collaborated with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the university of Southern Queensland to demonstrate how Jupiter could turn passing objects into potentially Eath-threatening coments.
The scientist, however, did agree that while his theory was true, Jupiter can also, in some cases, act as a shield.
Jonti Horner, an astronomer at the University of Southern Queensland, told Gizmodo: “It takes things that threaten Earth and flings them away, clearing space near our planet. So in that sense, it is something of a shield. On the flip side, though, it takes things that come nowhere near-Earth and flings them our way, meaning it is also a threat. To find out which side is more important—to determine whether Jupiter is truly friend or foe—you need to look at the story in some detail.”
Grazier added: “We already know that Earth is in the cosmic cross-hairs. There are hundreds of near-Earth objects that are potentially hazardous. I think we now just have to pay more attention to what’s happening a bit farther away in Jupiter’s neighborhood.”