One of the exciting features of our planet and solar system is how they are built for life. The cosmos contains a lot of material left over from the creation process, and we have learned that volcanic eruptions and asteroid impacts can eject material into outer space. Fragments that appear to be cast off from Mars have been found on Earth. The need for protection from incoming space objects like asteroids or comets is becoming more evident as scientists discover the enormous amount of damage done by the few collisions Earth has sustained.
Most people have heard of the asteroid collision scientists believe caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. However, evidence exists of earlier collisions that shaped and molded our planet. The recent experiment to alter the path of an asteroid by slamming a spacecraft into it shows the concern many have that an asteroid could crash into Earth and wipe out all human life.
During the last week in August of 2023, NASA’s Juno spacecraft confirmed an amateur astronomer’s report of seeing an object slamming into the surface of Jupiter. This is the third recorded sizable object impact on Jupiter, creating a fireball visible from Earth. In 1994, astronomers observed fragments of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet hitting Jupiter, and in September 2021, astronomers observed another collision.
Jupiter is strategically located and so massive that its gravity draws in asteroids, comets, and other materials that would cause a major disaster if they struck the Earth. Some objects don’t actually hit Jupiter, but they come close enough that Jupiter’s gravitational field slings them out of the inner solar system. Journalist Passant Rabie wrote on Yahoo News, “The solar system’s gas giant certainly knows how to keep peace in its cosmic neighborhood.”
We suggest that when God designed and created the solar system, He gave Earth protection from incoming space objects, which has kept humans safe for our entire history. Between Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus, it is almost impossible for a large object from outside the solar system to hit our planet.
The number of things that had to be “right” for our planet to support life is enormous. The more we discover, the less likely it is that pure accidental chance can explain them. A better explanation is, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands” (Psalms 19:1).
— John N. Clayton © 2023