For the longest time I always assumed our solar system and its overall make up was fairly normal in the universe. There must be countless solar systems out there in the infinitely massive universe with a similar set up to ours, where there was a rocky planet not too far and not too close to its star. Even when many scientist began finding more and more planets, believe it or not scientist had not found another planet outside our solar system, an exoplanet, until the late 80’s and early 90’s, it still seemed like our solar system was by all accounts normal.
As techniques for finding exoplantes got better and better scientist began finding them all over the place. To date over 1800 exoplanets have been discovered. For a long time scientist believed there were no other planets in the universe because they could not be observed. With all the new discoveries scientist began to be able to piece together what alien solar systems might look like, not to mention they were able to see the overall makeup of some of the planets they found. Many of these they think could be able to support life. If you do a quick Google search you can see that some are not so different from our own Earth.
What I think is very interesting about all this is that will all this new data scientist began to realize that our solar system was quite unique. Most of the other solar systems they have found seem to have their gas giants close to the sun. Planets like Saturn and Jupiter should be closer to the sun which would make life quite impossible for a variety of reasons. One being that they would attract many more asteroids closer to the sun because of the increased gravity. So if Earth were still in its same place and early life was able to take off the odds it would have made it to us is slim to none if the gas giants were closer to the sun like so many other systems scientists have observed. If life were on this Earth it would have probably been ended by a giant asteroid much like the dinosaurs.
Because the gas giants in our solar system are farther out, they more or less create a shield for us by keeping most of the larger rocky bodies left over from the creation of our solar system out of our path. Somehow we got lucky enough that our solar system is basically just perfect for intelligent life to exist and thrive. We are just the right distance from the sun, we have large shields out in space blocking asteroids from hitting us, and our sun is just the right age.
Taking all the into consideration really makes you think how lucky we are to be here. One of the many questions I ponder on most days is, are we just the result of an almost illogically improbable, statistical anomaly of circumstance basically just dumb luck, or was this the way it was supposed to work out is there some higher purpose for our being? Your guess is as good as mine…