Going Out to Jupiter!

May 13, 2010 at 11:50 PM (Uncategorized)

While watching The Science Channel again,  I have come upon yet another program that is giving detailed information about Planet Jupiter.  I enjoy watching these types of shows, so I figured that I can catch the news updates online, while occassionally flipping over to Leno and Letterman.  The comedians have not started yet, so I can enjoy this program, right now.

The current subject is Io.  It is discussing how the gravitational forces from Jupiter have made this moon so alive with volcanic activity.  Io often is called the pizza moon because of the reddish-yellow hues that we see through images.  There are nearly forty active volcanoes on Io, making it the location within our solar system with the greatest amount of volcanic production.

The show also talks about how Jupiter is the protector-planet for the rest of the solar system.  It’s immense size gives Jupiter an extreme amount of gravitational force.  This power allows our king planet to draw rouge asteroids and comets toward it, instead of following along paths that would lead to impacts with any of the solar system’s other planets.  The destructive force of the Shumaker-Levy 9 comet that impacted Jupiter was shown, noting that the comet would have been a completely destructive force if it had collided with smaller planets, like our Earth.  Yet, Jupiter took it in stride, ripping Shumaker-Levy 9 apart before it could reach the planet, then absorbing the diminshed chunks in spectacular, yet ultimately meaningless impacts.

The program is discussing Europa now, which is an ice-covered moon that some scientists suspect has a massive ocean beneath.  The ice is a seeming shell, which conceals a probable ocean that is nearly sixty miles deep!  Future probes will visit Europa, penetrating the icy surface, and finding out whether or not any type of life exists there!  It is speculated that the heat exerted by the gravitational action between Europa and Jupiter may have warmed this ocean enough for life to have been created, and it may continue to exist!

Europa and Io are two of the Gallilean Moons of Jupiter.  Callisto and Ganymede are the others.  These moons are merely four of the sixty-three moons that have been identified to orbit the immense planet.  Astronomer Gallileo Gallilei discovered them through telescope views during the year 1610.

NASA has plans to send a satellite that will explore Europa.  There is high speculation that some forms of life do exist beneath this moon’s ice shell.  If indeed any forms of living things are there, this will have massive implications for the rest of the universe, basically confirming that we are not alone, and giving a definite boost to programs like S.E.T.I.!


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