Jupiter is the motherfucking badass of the entire goddamn solar system. Think it’s just some giant, useless gas planet with a dopey red spot? Fuck that noise. Jupiter is the reason you’re alive right now. Show some respect.
Turns out, there’s a hell of a lot more space debris out there that should be hitting us: asteroids that would wipe out life on Earth if given half a chance. The reason they’re not vaporizing us is because Jupiter. Without it, the rate of impacts on Earth would be something like 1000 times higher than it is now. It’s so large, with such a massive gravitational field, that as it sweeps through its orbit it guards us like a protective big brother. It sends most space rocks that evenlookat the inner solar system funny flying out into the void of space. Jupiter has our fucking back.
Recently, within our lifetimes, an asteroid started to enter the inner solar system that was big enough to repave the surface of the Earth in fire and death if it had hit us. Jupiter caught it, tore it to pieces, and then ate the pieces.