The largest planet in the solar system has been in the spotlight over the past few days. And there is a logical explanation for that - from day to day the automatic interplanetary station "Juno" will moor to it. In this regard, NASA decided to imagine what it would be like to visit Jupiter.
The epithet "giant" is assigned to Jupiter by no means by chance - if it were hollow, it could easily accommodate 1300 planets like ours. This gas giant is 2.5 times more massive than all the other planets orbiting the Sun combined. It has dozens of satellites, a powerful magnetic field, and also forms a kind of miniature solar system.
After five years of wandering, the Juno spacecraft has almost reached its destination. In three days he will finally land on Jupiter. The device will revolve around the gas giant in an elliptical orbit at a distance of up to five thousand kilometers from its atmosphere.
Let's be honest: Jupiter is not the most pleasant place to visit. To begin with, this "gas balloon" has nowhere to even land. It consists almost entirely of light elements: hydrogen and helium.
If we try to describe its structure superficially, it will look something like this: under thick and turbulent clouds, a layer of hydrogen with helium additions up to 25 thousand km thick extends deep into the depths, gradually, under the influence of increasing pressure and temperature, passing from the gaseous to the liquid phase. There is no clear boundary between the phases; it all looks rather like a colossal boiling hydrogen boiler. The atmosphere of the planet is so "vigorous" that it can simply crush any spacecraft, just like a paper cup.
A characteristic feature of Jupiter's appearance is its stripes and swirls, which are windy ammonia clouds. The disk of the planet has also adorned a huge spot the size of our planet for several hundred years. This famous atmospheric formation is called the Great Red Spot (BKP). This giant storm raging on Jupiter has been known since the 17th century.
Jupiter's atmosphere, composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, is poisonous. The level of radiation on this planet is 1000 times higher than the lethal level for humans.
According to scientists, the "heart" of the giant is a solid core one and a half times larger than the Earth and a mass 10-15 times larger than the Earth's. The temperature in the core, according to some data, can reach 50 thousand degrees.
Today, Jupiter has 67 satellites, which is an absolute record among the planets of the solar system. However, the attention of astronomers is riveted on its four largest satellites - Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. They were discovered back in 1610 by Galileo Galilei.
The famous Italian scientist would be surprised to learn how much we know today about this Jupiter four. For example, Io has active volcanoes, Ganymede has its own magnetic field, Europa boasts an under-ice ocean, and Callisto is composed primarily of a compressed mixture of ice and rocks.
The "armed to the teeth" space station "Juno" will enter the orbit of Jupiter on 4 July. A variety of scientific instruments are on board the probe, with the help of which it is planned to study the history of formation and development, the composition and magnetosphere of the gas giant.
According to NASA employees, in the first 53 days, the device will make two familiarization circles around the planet, after which it will begin collecting scientific data.It is assumed that during this period it will fly around Jupiter in orbit every 14 days, approaching its surface as much as possible by 5 thousand km.