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Is anyone going to land on Jupiter?

Is anyone going to land on Jupiter?
George Elson from Surrey (Aged 5-14)

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One Response

  1. Hello Joanna,

    Jupiter is a different kind of planet to the hard, rocky planets like Earth and Mars. Jupiter is a ‘Gas Giant’ and it doesn’t have a solid surface…. As you passed down through the thick clouds and gas of Jupiter’s upper atmosphere, the temperature and pressure increase until gas becomes liquid… travel further still and the liquid (mostly hydrogen) is thought to become like a metallic solid… but the change from gas to liquid to solid (“phase” changes) are gradual, and so there is no actual ‘surface’ to land anything on…

    Even if there were a solid surface to explore, the conditions inside Jupiter would be very hostile – very high pressure and very high temperature – that would make exploration almost impossible. It is possible, however, to send a spacecraft into Jupiter on a one-way trip, which would allow us to get some more information about Jupiter’s atmosphere, but it would be too dangerous for a manned spacecraft.

    Jupiter does have many moons, however, and some of them have solid surfaces that could be explored by spacecraft in the future. Although a manned mission to one of Jupiter’s moons would be very difficult (and very dangerous!), the first step would be to send an unmanned spacecraft to land on one of Jupiter’s moons to get a better idea of the conditions, and work out whether it was possible for a manned mission to go there.

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