I've heard this often in the media, that the gas planet Jupiter has a significant effect upon life on Earth - by, the say, drawing asteroids & comets to itself, many planet-killer are destroyed as they plummet into Jupiter's thick atmosphere, sucked in by the gas giant's massive gravity.
One such impact was recorded in the 90's (Shoemaker-Levy 9) and so there's a grain of truth in this claim.
The current accepted hypothesis for the extinction of the dinosaurs is an asteroid impact, but such extinction level events would've been more frequent if Jupiter and perhaps even Saturn, the second largest planet in our solar system, weren't there.
There's a really interesting expression astronomers use to describe Jupiter - vacuum cleaner of the solar system (critical to the wellbeing of all life on earth for the reason given above).
I was just wondering though, do the other 6 planets also have significant effects in a similar sense (protecting life on earth)?
If yes, what have Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune done to keep life on Earth safe?