The discovery of an asteroid belt-like band of debris around Vega makes the star similar to another observed star called Fomalhaut (image above). The data are consistent with both stars having inner, warm belts and outer, cool belts separated by a gap. This architecture is similar to the asteroid and Kuiper belts in our own solar system. What is maintaining the gap between the warm and cool belts around Vega and Fomalhaut? The results strongly suggest the answer is multiple planets. Our solar system’s asteroid belt, which lies between Mars and Jupiter, is maintained by the gravity of the terrestrial planets and the giant planets, and the outer Kuiper belt is sculpted by the giant planets.
Both the inner and outer belts contain far more material than our own asteroid and Kuiper belts. The reason is twofold: the star systems are far younger than our own, which has had hundreds of millions more years to clean house, and the systems likely formed from an initially more massive cloud of gas and dust than our solar system.
The building of a solar system. What phase would you call this? Vega is so young and not anticipated to live a very long life, so the chance for life of any kind is doubtful.