Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 17:21 EDT
 Scenarios for the Evolution of Asteroid Belts
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Scenarios for the Evolution of Asteroid Belts

November 14, 2012
This illustration shows three possible scenarios for the evolution of asteroid belts. In the top panel, a Jupiter-size planet migrates through the asteroid belt, scattering material and inhibiting the formation of life on planets. The second scenario shows our solar-system model: a Jupiter-size planet that moves slightly inward but is just outside the asteroid belt. In the third illustration, a large planet does not migrate at all, creating a massive asteroid belt. Material from the hefty asteroid belt would bombard planets, possibly preventing life from evolving. Image Type: Illustration Illustration Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI) Science Credit: NASA, ESA, R. Martin and M. Livio (STScI)