Can Humans Ever Land On Jupiter?

Advertisement
Can Humans Ever Land On Jupiter?
Our solar system is a fascinating work of art. The best way to unfold the mysteries of a planet is by landing on it and gaining first-hand experience. Unfortunately, there are few places in the solar system, we will never understand fully. One of them is Jupiter.

The Dilemma

Jupiter is made of mostly hydrogen and helium gas. There’s only an endless stretch of atmosphere and no crust. Naturally, one would think you would fall in through one end of the atmosphere and come out the other. It isn’t so. Firstly, Jupiter’s atmosphere has no oxygen and the temperature is extremely high. Secondly, the distance from Jupiter’s centre to the circumference is equal to 5.5 earths.

Advertisement
Such Pressure!

As you enter the top of the atmosphere, you’re travelling at 110,000 miles per hour under the pole of Jupiter’s gravity. The atmosphere gets denser as you move toward the centre. Here, you’ll experience the full brunt of Jupiter’s rotation. It is the fastest rotating planet in our solar system with 9.5 earth hours completing a day on Jupiter. Such fast rotation speed is bound to create powerful winds that move at 300 miles per hour. At 75 miles below the clouds, you will reach the limit of human exploration and you won’t even be able to see anything. The Galileo spacecraft made it till this point in 1995 before losing all communication with Earth. The pressure is 100 times what it is on Earth and thus Galileo was destroyed after being able to communicate for 58 minutes. After another 430 miles toward the centre, the pressure is 1150 times higher. Only a spacecraft like the deepest diving submarine, Trieste, will be able to survive at this point.

Tough Luck

Advertisement

If you descended even further, you will uncover some of Jupiter’s greatest secrets. Sadly, there will be no communication because Jupiter’s atmosphere will absorb the radio waves. At 2,500 miles down, the temperature is 6,100° F and you will have been falling for about 12 hours. At 13,000 miles, you’ll reach the innermost layer where the pressure is 2 million times stronger than Earth’s, and the temperature is 11000° F.

Stuck In The Middle!

These conditions are so extreme that even hydrogen molecules are forced so close together that their electrons break loose forming metallic hydrogen thus changing its chemistry. Metallic hydrogen is reflective and so if you try using light, you wouldn’t be able to. It’s very dense so the buoyancy force counter acts gravity’s downward pull. So, the buoyancy will shoot you back up and gravity will pull you back down, and you will be free floating in mid Jupiter. Therefore, Jupiter is a planet best studied and admired from afar!

Advertisement


{{}}