NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope- Asteroid Belt

Solar systems with life-bearing planets may be rare if they are reliant on the presence of asteroid belts of presently the right mass, according to a study by Rebecca Martin, a NASA Sagan associate from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and astronomer Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

They imply that the size and position of an asteroid belt, shaped by the evolution of the sun's planet-forming disk and by the gravitational influence of a nearby giant Jupiter-like planet, may establish whether complex life will change on an Earth-like planet. The astronomers based their conclusion on an analysis of hypothetical models and archival observations, including infrared data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

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