NASA Galileo – Life on Jupiter

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The journey to answer the question “Is life on Jupiter possible?” commenced when NASA’s Galileo arrived into Jupiter’s atmosphere on December 7, 1995. It delivered 58 minutes of data back to Earth. The data regarding the atmospheric composition of Jupiter met with the expectations of the scientists. However, the surprising information was that the region Galileo entered was unexpectedly drier. Since Jupiter’s 79 moons are formed of ice, so it was expected for the planet to have some amount of water. However, that was not the case.

Is Life on Jupiter Possible?

Ádámkovics’ Team Research “Life on Jupiter”

To date, scientists are still debating about the amount of water present in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Recent research conducted by a team of scientists indicate that there is a lot of water present in Jupiter’s atmosphere. One of the scientists in this national team named Máté Ádámkovics state that with the help of a ground-based telescope they have discovered chemical signs of water beneath Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.  He further on states that since Jupiter is a gas giant it consists of twice the total mass of all the other planets. Which means if Jupiter has water it would be more than the amount of water present on Earth.

Ádámkovics’ research analysis was included in the Astronomical Journal, which is one of the world’s premier astronomy journals. His team consisted of Imke de Pater and Michael H. Wong of the University of California, Gordon L. Bjoraker of NASA,  Glenn Orton of the California Institute of Technology, and  Tilak Hewagama of the University of Maryland. The research was titled “The Gas Composition and Deep Cloud Structure of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.”

The group main focus was on the Great Red Spot. With the help of radiation data gathered with the help of iShell and the Near-Infrared Spectrograph, the group searched for water in Jupiter.

life on Jupiter
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iShell can identify gases across the color spectrum.

life on Jupiter
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Keck 2 known to be the most sensitive infrared telescope.

The team discovered three cloud layers in the Great Red Spot. The deepest cloud layer was at 5-7 bars (A bar represents pressure in the form of metric units. That is close to the average atmospheric pressure of the sea level on Earth.) Scientists believe that 5-7 bars the temperature of the water would reach the freezing point.

NASA’S Juno Spacecraft

life on Jupiter
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Juno landed at Jupiter in 2016 and is scheduled to orbit and will examine the planet until 2021. Juno spacecraft has revealed numerous secrets about Jupiter. Furthermore, with the help of the high-tech infrared spectrometer, the spacecraft will search for water in Jupiter. If the data collected from Juno’s observation matches ground-based observation, then it is possible for water to exist in Jupiter.