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NASA Space Science

Does Jupiter Have More Water Than NASA's Galileo Detected? 51

astroengine writes "Launched in August of last year, NASA's Juno probe is on a Kamikaze mission to go prospecting for water on Jupiter. Although its predecessor, NASA's Galileo spacecraft, took a death-dive into the gas giant it didn't detect any signs of water in its atmosphere. Why? Fran Bagenela, of the University of Colorado, told a group of scientists at the recent meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Anchorage, Alaska, that the Galileo probe fell at the boundary between one of the brown atmospheric zones and white belts that form a striped pattern across the planet's face. This gap region could have been unusually dry, she added. Now it's up to Juno to investigate when it enters orbit around Jupiter in 2016."
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Does Jupiter Have More Water Than NASA's Galileo Detected?

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  • Jupiter has water (Score:3, Interesting)

    by neonv ( 803374 ) on Monday June 25, 2012 @08:00PM (#40446785)

    We saw the comet Shoemaker-Levy-9 [] hit Jupiter in 1994. Being such a gravity giant, it's likely to have been hit by many comets. Since comets are full of water, there's no question about water present on Jupiter. The problem is the large size, gravitational pull, pressure, extreme weather, regular asteroid impacts, and, I can't stress this enough, it's a big ball of gas. I'm as interested in Jupiter as any nerd, but it's not as likely a source of life as other places in the solar system.

  • Re:Jupiter has water (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mbone ( 558574 ) on Monday June 25, 2012 @09:04PM (#40447363)

    I think that the 50 years of space exploration shows that we are most interested in life that is somewhat like us, in settings we can understand. Bacteria on Mars ? Fish on Europa ? Yes, launch the spacecraft! Floating life at 40 km altitude on Venus or in the clouds of Jupiter or Saturn ? Not so much. And, yet, the atmospheres of both Venus and Jupiter show signs of being out of chemical equilibria, the essential signature of a biological system.

    People need to understand how slowly we are exploring the solar system. Yes, substantial progress is being made, but it is taking a long time to settle even the most basic questions. Ones that are rated secondary (such as life on Jupiter) could take a century or more to address.

  • Re:Jupiter has water (Score:4, Interesting)

    by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Monday June 25, 2012 @09:08PM (#40447403)
    The sun and all the planets are made of the same stuff. [] The gas giants all have rocky cores.

"Wish not to seem, but to be, the best." -- Aeschylus