We have a lot to thank Jupiter for. Our biggest planet is not just pretty to look at, it stands in the way of a lot of possible threats to us. Jupiter’s mass creates a gravitational pull strong enough to fling comets and other objects back out of the solar system and away from us.

One of example of this was back in 1994 when Jupiter took the brunt of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which got caught in its orbit.

But don’t give Jupiter all the praise just yet. That same gravity that saves us could also, one day, turn a comet or asteroid towards us.

But for now, let’s just thank our stars that Jupiter is out there protecting us!

(Or, if you’re in a destructive mood and want to see how Jupiter could possibly destroy us all someday, you can go read this: Could Jupiter Wreck the Solar System?