Is there a solid surface on Jupiter? Is it Possible to Stand on Jupiter?

Jupiter, a gaseous giant, is made out of the mass left over after the sun formed, weighing one-thousandth the mass of the sun. It is visible from Earth and is the fourth brightest object in the universe. Jupiter’s diameter is 142,984 kilometres, and its volume is large enough to accommodate 1300 Earths.

Many people wonder if Jupiter has a solid surface and if we can walk on there. This is something I’ll go over in depth in this piece.

Is there a solid surface on Jupiter? Jupiter, on the other hand, does not have a solid surface. It is the largest planet in the system, although it lacks a solid surface. If one attempted to paraglide and land on Jupiter’s surface, he would instead slide down through layers of gas, dust, vapour, and liquid until reaching the hot core. The planet’s structure is essentially made up of layers of gases that surround the centre core.

Jupiter generates a plasma torus that encircles it due to its enormous magnetic field. This plasma torus acts as a barrier for spacecraft trying to approach the planet, making it difficult for astronomers to get a close look at it.

Despite the fact that some zones do not offer a significant threat, radiation is constantly emitted.

Jupiter’s atmosphere, moons, light zones and dark-colored belts, chemical composition and structure, magnetic field and density have all been studied by numerous missions and expeditions.

Jupiter’s Composition and Structure

The planet’s structure is essentially made up of layers of gases that surround the centre core. Water vapour, methane, benzene molecules, and a few other hydrocarbons are found in trace levels in the atmosphere.

Carbon, ethane, hydrogen sulphide, neon, oxygen, phosphine, and sulphur traces have been discovered on its surface.

About 90% of its upper surface is hydrogen, with traces of a few other gases. The remaining 10% is predominantly helium with traces of a few other gases.

Crystals of frozen ammonia have been discovered in the atmosphere’s uppermost layer. Jupiter contains the largest ocean in the solar system, thanks to the immense pressure and compression of hydrogen gas, which converts it to a liquid sea.

Jupiter has the fastest spinning speed, and the planet’s rapid rotation around its axis has been discovered to generate electrical current, supplying the planet with a tremendous magnetic field.

If you try to stand on Jupiter’s surface, you will descend to the centre of the planet and be crushed by the high internal pressure. Jupiter has a gravity that is 2.5 times that of Earth.

To the core, it’s all about the atmosphere.

Jupiter’s atmosphere is estimated to be 1c/o of the planet’s total mass, which is equivalent to three Earths. While the atmosphere accounts for barely one-millionth of the planet’s overall mass.

This explains Jupiter’s vast atmosphere and dictates how far it reaches. Jupiter’s rings are comprised of dust, and Jupiter seems to have colour bands and patches from space.

These bands and storms, such as the Great Red Spot, form in the upper atmosphere. The clouds form a 50-kilometer-thick sheet as they pile up on top of one another.

The gases separated into upper, middle, and lower layers beneath this. As you go closer to the core, the layers of gases change from gas to liquid.

The upper layer, which stretches up to 21,000 kilometres, is mostly made up of hydrogen and methane. Due to the rise in depth and pressure, the middle layer contains denser materials such as liquid hydrogen.

The lowermost gaseous layer of liquid metallic hydrogen, which lasts up to 40,000 kilometres, sits beneath this liquid hydrogen layer. The huge core, which is around one and a half times the size of the earth, sits beneath this.

The temperature at the core is around 30,000 degrees Celsius, due to the weight of the atmosphere above and the immense pressure in the centre.

Jupiter’s innermost core

It’s unclear whether Jupiter has a solid core or a dense, super-hot lava at its core. Some scientists believe that the solid centre core will be surrounded by liquid hydrogen, which will thereafter be surrounded by molecular hydrogen, based on their research and exploration.

While some scientists are still unsure, they believe the core is a boiling molten ball of liquid, while others say it is a solid rock weighing 14-18 times the mass of the planet.

With just a hazy understanding of Jupiter’s inner and core, continuing surveys and missions are being carried out to dig deeper and acquire more specific information on the materials found in Jupiter’s deeper layers.

It also adds to our understanding of Jupiter’s core.

Migration and formation

Jupiter formed as a gas giant 4.5 billion years ago, when its gravity drew gases and dust together to create a gas giant. The planet’s composition, which is virtually completely hydrogen and helium, is similar to that of the Sun.

These gases are visible on the planet’s surface as orange and light-colored bands.

Jupiter migrated towards the sun around 4 million years ago and is now the fifth planet from the sun in our solar system.

What happens if you’re thrown off the planet Jupiter?

That’s an intriguing question, so let’s get to the bottom of it. You will be pushed into Jupiter’s atmosphere by its enormous gravity as soon as you are dumped onto its surface, and you will first fall into the ammonia clouds. Frictional warmth and compression will be felt here.

After a period, you’d still be falling, but the pressure would have risen to 2 bars, which is double the typical surface pressure on Earth.

You’ll be suffocated by ammonia ice, ammonium sulphide, and ammonium hydrosulfide clouds. These clouds are brown in hue and look like the ordinary clouds we see.

Furthermore, as you descend, the atmospheric pressure rises, but the temperature remains quite low, around 40 degrees Celsius. You will pass through an icy crust here, and after a few minutes, you will be in a pitch-black abyss with a huge temperature increase, i.e. 100 degrees.

The temperature and pressure will continue to rise as you descend further. You’ll now travel to the planet’s interior, which scientists are only vaguely familiar with.

At this moment, your descent speed will be reduced to a bare minimum. As you progress deeper into this zone, you’ll soon come across a vast ocean of liquid metallic hydrogen, which forms as a result of the combined effects of severe pressure, temperature, and density.

As you descend further, you will encounter a pressure of 2 million bars and a temperature as hot as the sun. Your descent will come to an end at this point, and you will disintegrate to dust.

As a result, landing on Jupiter will kill you in minutes. It is very inhospitable at that pressure and temperature, and humans have no chance of surviving there.

Exploration of missions and research

Since 1973, a variety of automated spacecraft have been deployed to fly by Jupiter in order to study its features and phenomena. The Pioneer 10 space probe is the first of them.

The planetary flybys were then accomplished by a series of spacecraft, including Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, and Voyager 2. Jupiter and its moons were photographed up close by the Pioneer missions.

While the Voyager missions improved our understanding of the Galilean moons and revealed Jupiter’s rings, they also added to our knowledge of the Galilean moons. The anticyclonic nature of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot was researched and confirmed by this voyage.

The Ulysses solar probe, which studied Jupiter’s magnetosphere, was the next mission to investigate the planet (the magnetic field of a planet). Years later, in 2000, the Casini probe was launched into space to pass past Jupiter and photograph it in high-resolution.

Several notable missions, like as the Galileo and New Horizons missions, gathered data on polar cyclones and volcanoes on lo (one of Jupiter’s moons), as well as studying Jupiter’s four moons, Europa, lo, Ganymede, and Callisto.

The Galileo probe (the first robotic spacecraft planned for a mission to Jupiter) also looked into Jupiter’s interior, atmosphere, gravity, and planet formation, as well as the Jovian system (moons orbiting Jupiter that form a miniature solar system).

The planet is now being studied by NASA’s Juno probe as it moves through its orbit. Astronomers are currently using Hubble Space Observatories and ground-based telescopes to track Jupiter’s movements and changing weather conditions.

The famous striped bands on Jupiter, which are caused by extremely violent winds five times stronger than tornadoes on Earth and occur 3000 kilometres beneath the planet’s atmosphere, have been explained by new research.

Is Jupiter a planet or a star?

To address this question, we must first comprehend what makes a planet a star. In order to fuel itself, a star must start fusion.

Jupiter, unlike the Sun, lacks enough hydrogen and helium to start the fusion process, and as a result, while being the largest planet with tremendous internal pressure and temperature, it fails to fall under stellar masses.

Jupiter is more than double the mass of all the planets combined, but it is still insufficient to initiate helium-hydrogen fusion.

As a result, Jupiter is described as a “failed star.” According to scientists, Jupiter needs to be 75 times more massive than the sun to become a star.

We can deduce from the preceding discussion that Jupiter is a massive gaseous globe with a central core.

Because it lacks a solid surface, astronomers have found it difficult to conduct in-depth explorations of Jupiter in order to learn more about the planet’s deep layers and the composition of its core.

It’s still unclear whether Jupiter’s climate and environment could support life. On Jupiter, surveys are being conducted to find answers to some of the planet’s most perplexing questions.

Read more: What Is the Difference Between Polar and Nonpolar Hexane?

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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