Give Thanks to Jupiter, our Little Planet’s Big Protector – Facts So Romantic

Jupiter is famous for its Great Red Spot, but the stormy planet may also be responsible for keeping the inner solar system calm.NASA/JPL

You are special, just like your parents used to tell you. You are a rare flower, a unique snowflake. Just like everyone else.

How about our solar system? Is it special? Earth used to be at the center of the Universe. Then along came Copernicus to put us in our place. Now we know that Earth orbits a more or less average star in a more or less average galaxy in a more or less average region of the Universe. So much for feeling special… (See previous Nautilus stories about potential limits of the Copernican principle, how we can redefine the Copernican revolution, and why leaving the center of the Universe might have been a step up.)

But wait! Earth is special. Earth is a living planet, the only planet in the whole Universe that we are certain harbors life. And we are special simply because we are alive. That is nothing to shake a comet at!

In the last 20 years, our knowledge…

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