A change in Jupiter's orbit could make Earth even friendlier to life

"A shift in Jupiter's orbit could make Earth's surface even more hospitable to life than it already is, new research suggests. University of California-Riverside (UCR) scientists simulated alternative arrangements of our solar system, finding that when Jupiter's orbit was more flattened  —  or 'eccentric'  —  it would cause major changes in our planet's orbit too. And this change caused by the orbit of Jupiter  —  the solar system's most massive planet by far  —  could impact Earth's ability to support life for the better."..."The UCR scientists found that if Jupiter was much closer to the sun than its current distance of around 461 million miles (742 million kilometers) it could cause extreme tilting on Earth. This would result in our planet receiving less sunlight, meaning that large surface areas of our planet would experience sub-freezing temperatures."

Indeed, Jupiter shifting around could open the door to plenty of changes in the inner solar system. Here is another model report on moving things around in the solar system.

Rethinking the role of the giant planet instability in terrestrial planet formation models, https://arxiv.org/abs/2209.00706

This was interesting to read and the 16-page PDF paper. It is apparent that computer simulations using the protoplanetary disc for the early solar system are plagued by problems showing how the main belt asteroids formed, Mars, Earth, the giant impact to create the Moon using Theia, Venus, and Mercury.

27 references to Theia in the 16-page paper. 2x references to Grand Tack and 15x references to Nice Model. Near the end of the paper, “In spite of all efforts made, it is challenging for our systems to retain a planet in the Mars region. As various studies of the Nice Model's effects on the fully formed terrestrial planets (Brasser et al. 2009; Agnor & Lin 2012; Brasser et al. 2013; Kaib & Chambers 2016) have highlighted the fragility of Mars' orbit during the epoch of giant planet migration, we see this as the strongest, model-independent case against our scenario. While Earth and Venus' dynamically cold orbits are not produced in our models, this might be resolved if the planets pre-instability orbits were less excited (e.g.: Johansen et al. 2021; Izidoro et al. 2021a,b). Mercury analogs are rare in our models, but it is possible that earlier processes or alternative disk conditions were responsible for the planets' mass and orbit (Clement & Chambers 2021; Clement et al. 2021c; Bro_z et al. 2021). While certain disk and instability scenarios have been shown to yield improved outcomes for Earth and Venus' excitation (Nesvorn_y et al. 2021), the inability of our systems to consistently retain mass in the Mars region strongly speaks against our proposed scenario…”

Using space.com reported age for the Earth (4.54E+9 years old), the giant impact with Theia is dated 4.51E+9 years ago to 4.39E+9 years ago. From the paper, “The main goals of this paper are to investigate whether a Nice Model instability occurring around the time of the Moon-forming impact (at t ~ 100 Myr to satisfy constraints on the instability's timing, and also within the earlier part of the ~ 30-150 Myr window of inferred timings of the Moon-forming impact) is consistent with the terrestrial system's modern low degree of dynamical excitation (e.g.: Roig et al. 2016), and also capable of consolidating unnecessary proto-planets in the vicinity of Earth's orbit (i.e.: directly triggering the Moon-forming impact as proposed in DeSouza et al. 2021), removing excessive massive bodies in the Mars-region…”

Jupiter moving some can change much in the present solar system, including the giant impact model using Theia to create the Moon.