Sunday, April 14, 2024

Um, Jupiter ate smaller planets

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Thanks to NASA’s Juno mission, we have had the opportunity to study the evolution of Jupiter in detail for a few years. Its composition data recently made us record a small distribution of minerals and the explanation given by astronomers is that the giant gas billions of years ago may have “swallowed” several rocky planets or planets in their primordial stage.

“There are two mechanisms for a gas giant like Jupiter to obtain minerals during its formation: through the accretion of small rocks or large minor planets,” said lead author Yamila Miguel.

Roberto Machado NoaGetty Images

“We know that once a small planet gets big enough, it starts spewing out debris. It’s impossible to get to the mineral wealth inside Jupiter that we see now sooner. So we can rule out the scenario using only smaller material during its formation. The planets are so big that It can’t be locked, so it must have played a part.”

This study tells us something else: that only a nearby mission can pinpoint this type of interior formation, something that no telescope has been able to see. This means that when we observe the exoplanets from our solar system, we are not really able to collect their most specific characteristics.

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Leon Motley
Leon Motley
"Typical beer trailblazer. Hipster-friendly web buff. Certified alcohol fanatic. Internetaholic. Infuriatingly humble zombie lover."
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