What will happen when landing on Jupiter?

  • Jupiter is a gas giant, so landing on it will not be like landing on Earth, our Moon or Mars etc., as it does not have a solid surface like these.

    If we have a hypothetical spaceship or probe landing on Jupiter, and it can withstand the enormous pressure, what or how will be the sequence of events?

    I already read this:

    A major problem in sending space probes to Jupiter is that the planet
    has no solid surface on which to land, as there is a smooth transition
    between the planet's atmosphere and its fluid interior. Any probes
    descending into the atmosphere are eventually crushed by the immense
    pressures within Jupiter.

    What I do not understand:

    • Is this enormous or immense pressure of atmosphere or Jupiter's surface?

    • While descending, will we know that we have transitioned from the atmosphere to the surface?

    • Why does animated footage (real or conceptual) of Jupiter appear like a high viscous liquid (e.g. lava) rotating in an opposite direction, rather that gas(es)?

    • Does Jupiter have an inner solid core?

    I've already gone through these:

  • ProfRob

    ProfRob Correct answer

    7 years ago

    Jupiter does not have a "surface" and nor is there anything but an arbitrary division between interplanetary space and where its atmosphere begins.

    The crushing pressure is its atmospheric pressure. The deeper into the atmosphere you go, the greater the column of gas that lies above you. It is the weight of this column of gas that is responsible for the rapid increase in pressure with depth.

    The answer to your last question is most definitely addressed in the duplicate question about whether Jupiter is entirely made of gas. There is quite likely to be a liquid phase nearer the centre and there may be a solid core of order ten times the mass of the Earth. It is not a settled question.

    The gas motions you talk about are essentially belts of weather systems in the upper layers of Jupiter's atmosphere. It is all most definitely gas that you can see.

    Comets hits jupiter from time to time. It's feasible to imagine some solid material from those bolids coalesced in the core. If there are enough rock in the core you can even call it a "surface"

    You forgot to mention it’s a *supercritical fluid* below the atmosphere. There is no ordinary “liquid” H₂ — 165 K is too hot for it to exist.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM