Документальный фильм "What Lies Inside Jupiter"



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What Lies Inside Jupiter

Ever since the invention of the telescope 400 years ago, astronomers have been studying Jupiter. Who could resist? It's such a big, bright target in the night sky. Just one problem: It's tough to "get to the bottom" of a planet that's permanently cloudy.

For four long centuries the gas giant's vast interior has remained hidden from view. NASA's Juno probe, scheduled to launch on August 5th, could change all that. The goal of the mission is to answer the question, What lies inside Jupiter?

"Our knowledge of Jupiter is truly skin deep," says Scott Bolton of the SouthWest Research Institute in San Antonio, TX. Bolton is Juno's principal investigator. "Even the Galileo probe, which dived into the clouds in 1995, penetrated no more than about 0.2% of Jupiter's radius."

There are many basic things researchers would like to know, like how far down does the Great Red Spot go? And what is the exotic material that lies at Jupiter's core?

Juno will improve the situation without actually diving into the clouds. Bolton explains how: "Swooping as low as 5000 km above the cloudtops, Juno will spend a full year orbiting nearer to Jupiter than any previous spacecraft. The probe's flight path will cover all latitudes and longitudes, allowing us to fully map Jupiter's gravitational field and figure out how the interior is structured."

Jupiter's interior is a place of great interest. The planet is made primarily of hydrogen gas. Deep inside Jupiter, however, high temperatures and crushing pressures transform the gas into an exotic form of matter known as liquid metallic hydrogen. It is what it sounds like: a liquid form of hydrogen akin to the slippery mercury in an old-fashioned thermometer. Jupiter's powerful magnetic field almost certainly springs from dynamo action inside this vast realm of electrically conducting fluid.

"Juno's magnetometers will precisely map Jupiter's magnetic field," says Bolton. "This will tell us a great deal about Jupiter's inner magnetic dynamo - what it's made of and how it works."

Juno will also probe Jupiter's atmosphere using a set of microwave radiometers. "Our sensors can measure the temperature and water content at depths where the pressure is 50 times greater than what the Galileo probe experienced," says Bolton.

Researchers will use that information to understand the deep structure of the atmosphere and unravel some of the mysteries of Jupiter's monster storms. Finally, Juno will get a grand view of the most powerful Northern Lights in the Solar System.

"Juno's polar orbit is ideal for studying Jupiter's auroras," explains Bolton. "Unlike Earth, which lights up in response to solar activity, Jupiter makes its own auroras. They are really strong, and we don't fully understand how they are created."

Juno's sensors might solve the mystery - a beautiful bonus.

For updates about the Juno mission and more information about cloudy planets everywhere, please stay tuned to science.nasa.gov

Uploaded by ScienceAtNASA on Jul 28, 2011

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Документальный фильм "What Lies Inside Jupiter"

















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