NASA / ESA / STSCI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / ESA / STSCI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Evolution of asteroid belts. Computer illustration showing three possible scenarios for how asteroid belts developed. Top: a Jupiter-size planet migrates through the asteroid belt, scattering material and inhibiting the formation of life on planets. Middle: our solar-system model - a Jupiter-size planet that moves slightly inward but is just outside the asteroid belt. Bottom: a large planet does not migrate at all, creating a massive asteroid belt. Material from this large asteroid belt would bombard planets, possibly preventing life from evolving.
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