• Home
  • Global News
  • Surprise! There's more water on Jupiter than anyone thought
Surprise! There's more water on Jupiter than anyone thought
Global  
space

Jupiter appears to have more water than anyone expected.

 

Newly released data from NASA's Juno probe shows that water may make up about 0.25% of the molecules in the atmosphere over Jupiter's equator. While that doesn't sound like much, the calculation is based on a prevalence of water's components, hydrogen and oxygen, three times more than at the sun. The new measurements Juno obtained are much higher than a previous mission suggested.
 
The surprise result has scientists delving deep again into results from NASA's Galileo mission to Jupiter, which obtained drier results in 1995 when engineers deliberately threw the spacecraft into Jupiter's atmosphere. (Galileo was low on fuel and NASA didn't want to take the chance, even if it was a slight one, of the spacecraft accidentally crashing on a potentially habitable icy moon.)
 
Reconciling the results from Galileo and Juno is key for scientists to better understand how our solar system came together, NASA said in a statement. Since Jupiter was probably the first planet to form, it could have sucked up most of the gas and dust that the sun's formation left behind. How much water Jupiter soaked up, then, should help scientists identify the most plausible theories to explain its formation.
 
And understanding Jupiter's birth would in turn help scientists understand how the planet's wind currents move and what its insides are made of. Scientists should be able to generalize findings at Jupiter to certain kinds of large exoplanets to learn how other solar systems formed.
 
Galileo's results were a puzzle even back in the 1990s. The spacecraft sent back data showing 10 times less water than scientists predicted, and more weirdly, the amount of water appeared to increase the deeper Galileo went into Jupiter's atmosphere, according to the NASA statement. Scientists had expected that by the time it stopped transmitting data, at a depth of about 75 miles (120 kilometers), the atmosphere around it should have been well-mixed with an unchanging composition. 
 
A ground-based infrared telescope was able to measure water concentrations at Jupiter at the same time as Galileo's plunge and showed that Galileo may have accidentally hit a dry spot, meaning water is not well-mixed deep in Jupiter's atmosphere. 

 

Juno's first eight flybys also showed a lack of atmospheric mixing. The spacecraft's radiometer obtained data even deeper than Galileo's measurements, at 93 miles (150 km) down, and found more water at the equator than Galileo did. 
 
Scientists are now waiting to compare Juno's equatorial measurements with observations at the north of the planet; Juno's 53-day orbit is gradually moving northward to examine more of that hemisphere with each flyby. The spacecraft's next science flyby will be on April 10.
 
"Just when we think we have things figured out, Jupiter reminds us how much we still have to learn," Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute, said in the NASA statement. "Juno's surprise discovery that the atmosphere was not well mixed even well below the cloud tops is a puzzle that we are still trying to figure out. No one would have guessed that water might be so variable across the planet."
 
The new research is described in a paper published Feb. 10 in the journal Nature Astronomy.

 
 


 
 


 
More in Global
After Chicago Aquarium Shuts Due To COVID-19, Penguins Enjoy A Grand T...

With much of Chicago now under self-imposed quarantine, it seems like the penguins (no, not the ones from Madagascar) decided to take over. 

Recently posted . 9 views

Eerie Circle Built From Mammoth Bones Reveals New Clues About Survival...

Long before the comfort of modern amenities, ancient human communities were capable of living in some truly harsh and frigid environments.

Recently posted . 10 views

Is Paying for Sex a Disease?

Many U.S, jurisdictions send men to “John Schools” for treatment.

Recently posted . 13 views

Bill Gates steps down from Microsoft board to serve humanity

The 64-year-old stopped being involved in day-to-day operations at the firm more than a decade ago, turning his attention to the foundation he launched with his wif...

Recently posted . 26 views

Iron rain on exoplanet is driven by huge extremes in temperature

It could be raining molten iron on some exoplanets, according to David Ehrenreich at the University of Geneva and an international team of astronomers. The team d...

Recently posted . 15 views

From Symptoms To Cure, Things One Should Know About Hantavirus

China on March 24 recorded a case where a man tested positive for hantavirus, which is primarily spread by rodents and has different sets of symptoms.

Recently posted . 29 views

 
 
 

Prashnavali

Thought of the day

Nothing you wear is more important than your smile
Anonymous