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Sniping at Jupiter

Jupiter, often thought to protect the inner planets from space debris, may sometimes hurl material toward Earth.

According to a popular model of planetary interactions, Jupiter plays an entirely protective role in our solar system, shielding Earth and the other inner planets from space debris.

The long-accepted model indicates that the gravity and location of the giant body in the outer solar system deflects comets and other planetesimals — rubble left over from the planet-making process -- that might otherwise bombard Earth.

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