Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Did NASA Accidentally “Nuke” Jupiter?



On September 21, 2003 NASA deliberately directed its amazing, still-functioning Galileo spacecraft to make one final, 108,000 mph suicidal plunge into Jupiter’s vast atmosphere.  Thus ended the incredibly successful eight-year unmanned NASA Galileo mission … which had returned against all odds an array of phenomenal new information on Jupiter and its “mini-solar system of moons” … in a literal, most fitting “blaze of glory.”


The intent of this unfortunate decision was to protect Europa, one of those Jovian moons.    Galileo’s repeated Europa observations (below) over the course of its highly successful eight years have all-but-confirmed an extraordinary model, first proposed and published by this author in 1980, and reproduced here: that, beneath its several-miles-thick ice cover, Europa still harbors a liquid water ocean … an ocean potentially teeming with 4.5 billion year-old alien life


Van der Worp had argued that in Jupiter’s dense, high-pressure atmosphere, the creation of an implosion in Galileo’s plutonium capsules was almost naturally assured … without any complex high-tech explosive triggers or ancillary mechanisms.  He had written:

The plutonium pellets aboard are protected against unexpected pressures (not Jupiter’s atmospheric pressures though). Since the craft will be traveling so fast (107,000+ mph), the pressure will increase suddenly. The upper crust of Jupiter’s atmosphere is gaseous hydrogen and helium about 600 to 700 miles thick (2% of the radius of the planet), followed by a more liquid substance of the two, and much further in, a more metal version (so it is guessed). At only 125 miles down the pressure is already 23 bars (Galileo would go from 1/2 bar to 23 bars in 4 seconds). If the craft is traveling at 107,000+ miles/hr, and the pellets (not the craft) last 20 seconds in Jupiter’s hostile atmosphere before imploding, they would have traveled approximately 500-600 miles inward if one accounts for the craft slowing down after entry. This is about the thickness of the more gaseous part of the atmosphere (this is assuming a perpendicular entry). At this point, the pressure would be in the thousands of bars because the increase is exponential, not to mention the temperatures generated at this speed would be tremendous ….


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