What Would Happen If Humans Tried To Land On Jupiter
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What Would Happen If Humans Tried To Land On Jupiter

– The best way to explore a
new world is to land on it. That’s why humans have sent spacecraft to the Moon, Venus, Mars,
Saturn’s moon Titan, and more. But there are a few
places in the solar system we will never understand
as well as we’d like. One of them is Jupiter. Jupiter is made of mostly
hydrogen and helium gas, so trying to land on
it would be like trying to land on a cloud here on Earth. There’s no outer crust to
break your fall on Jupiter, just an endless stretch of atmosphere. The big question then is, could you fall through one end
of Jupiter and out the other? Turns out, you wouldn’t
even make it halfway. (mysterious synth music) First thing’s first, Jupiter’s
atmosphere has no oxygen, so make sure you bring
plenty with you to breathe. The next problem is the
scorching temperatures, so pack an air conditioner. Now you’re ready for a
journey of epic proportions. For scale, here’s how many Earths you could stack from Jupiter’s center. As you enter the top of the atmosphere, you’re traveling at 110,000 miles-per-hour under the pull of Jupiter’s gravity. But brace yourself. You’ll quickly hit the
denser atmosphere below, which will hit you like a wall. It won’t be enough to stop you, though. After about three minutes, you’ll reach the cloud
tops 155 miles down. Here, you’ll experience the full brunt of Jupiter’s rotation. Jupiter is actually the
fastest rotating planet in our solar system. One day lasts about
nine-and-a-half Earth hours. This creates powerful winds
that can whip around the planet at more than 300 miles-per-hour. About 75 miles below the clouds, you reach the limit of human exploration. Galileo probe made it this far when it dove into Jupiter’s
atmosphere in 1995. It only lasted 58 minutes
before losing contact and was eventually destroyed
by the crushing pressure. Down here, the pressure is
nearly 100 times what it is on Earth’s surface and you
won’t be able to see anything, so you’ll have to rely on instruments to explore your surroundings. By 430 miles down, the
pressure is 1,150 times higher. You might be able to survive down here if you were in a spacecraft built like the Trieste submarine, the deepest-diving submarine on Earth. Any deeper and the pressure
and the temperature will be too great for
the spacecraft to endure. However, let’s say that
you could find a way to descend even further. You will uncover some of
Jupiter’s grandest mysteries. But sadly, you’ll have
no way to tell anyone. Jupiter’s deep atmosphere
absorbs radio waves, so you’d be shut off
from the outside world, unable to communicate. Once you’ve reached 2,500 miles down, the temperature is 6,100
degrees Fahrenheit. That’s hot enough to melt tungsten, the metal with the highest
melting point in the universe. At this point, you will have been falling for at least 12 hours and you
won’t even be halfway through. At 13,000 miles down, you’ll reach Jupiter’s innermost layer. Here, the pressure is two
million times stronger than that of Earth’s surface and the temperature is hotter
than the surface of the Sun. These conditions are so
extreme that they change the chemistry of hydrogen around you. Hydrogen molecules are
forced so close together that their electrons break loose, forming an unusual substance
called metallic hydrogen. Metallic hydrogen is highly reflective, so if you tried using
lights to see down there, it would be impossible, and
it’s as dense as a rock. So as you travel deeper, the buoyancy force from
the metallic hydrogen counteracts gravity’s downward pull. Eventually, that buoyancy
will shoot you back up until gravity pulls you right back down, sort of like a yo-yo, and
when those two forces equal, you’ll be left free-floating
in mid-Jupiter, unable to move up or down
and no way of escape. Suffice it to say, trying to
land on Jupiter is a bad idea. We may never see what’s
beneath those majestic clouds. But we can still study and admire this mysterious planet from afar.


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