Jupiter is famous for being a large, gas-filled planet. Here’s a question: Does it have a solid surface? This is what you need to know!
Jupiter It stands out as one of the most striking planets in the Solar System, but what is its surface really like? Outer space is full of seemingly endless wonders. In the Milky Way alone, scientists believe there are about 100 billion planets and 100 billion stars. Those numbers become even more significant when you look at the entire known universe. There are an estimated 700 trillion planets and 200 billion trillion stars.
Existing as an incredibly small speck in the middle of all that is our Solar System. Home to just eight planets, the Solar System is a unique little corner in the universe. It is home to planets like Mars, Saturn, and Earth, the only known planet in existence that has life. There is also Jupiter. Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System and the fifth largest from the Sun. It is certainly an impressive sight from a distance, but what is the surface of the planet like?
Jupiter is different from Earth in many ways, but perhaps the biggest difference has to do with its surface … or should we say the lack of it. Unlike Earth, which has a solid surface and an atmosphere above it, Jupiter has no real surface at all. This is because Jupiter is a ‘gas giant’, also known as a planet made up entirely of different gases. As NASA explains, “The planet is primarily swirling gases and liquids. While a spaceship would have nowhere to land on Jupiter, it could not fly unscathed either. Extreme pressures and temperatures deep within the planet crush, melt and vaporize spacecraft as they attempt to fly to the planet. “
What the ‘surface’ of Jupiter looks like
In short, Jupiter is not a planet that humans will visit for a while. But what about Jupiter that makes it so dangerous? The composition of the planet consists mainly of hydrogen and helium. The pressure and temperatures increase the further you go into the planet, becoming so intense that the electrons are believed to be separated from their hydrogen atoms. That enormous pressure also compresses the hydrogen gases into liquid form, thus creating a massive ocean made up entirely of liquid hydrogen. In fact, the ocean is so large that it is the largest in the entire Solar System.
But a huge ocean is not the only thing you would find on the “surface” of Jupiter. Storms of incredible sizes are also very present on the planet. When Jupiter’s gases combine with its rapid rotation, NASA says this creates, “Strong jet currents, which separate their clouds into dark belts and bright areas along long stretches.” With these jet streams being created and not having a solid surface to stop them, storms on Jupiter are unlike anything we experience on Earth. Jupiter storms often last for years and can have winds of up to 335 miles per hour. The Great Red Spot is the most famous storm on Jupiter, it stands out for being twice the width of the Earth and having been observed for more than 300 years.
So that’s Jupiter. It doesn’t have a solid surface and makes up for it with a gigantic ocean and incredible storms. It would certainly be beautiful to see him in person, but unless a scientific breakthrough is made, that won’t happen any time soon.