In the last few years we've heard a lot about the discovery of "habitable planets" - usually defined by their size, solidity, and a distance from their star that could maintain liquid water.
This is all well and good, but part of what makes Earth habitable (at least to the sort of organisms we're familiar with) is the solar system that we live in. I'm specifically thinking of the role that Jupiter plays in flinging comets out of the solar system before they hit us.
So my question is - does this sort of thing factor into the search for habitable planets at all? Presumably it would be straightforward to look for because if you want a planet with a Jupiter-effect it's going to by definition be big and exerting a lot of pull on its system. If we don't, presumably factors like this will be worked in once we have a bigger catalogue of habitable planets.
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