Shop Windows to the Universe

The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.
This is a drawing of the Galileo probe exploring the environment of Jupiter.
Click on image for full size
Image from: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Can there be Life in the Environment of Jupiter?

Jupiter's atmospheric environment is one of strong gravity, high pressure, strong winds, from 225 miles per hour to 1000 miles per hour, and cold temperatures of -270 degrees to +32 degrees (freezing temperature). These winds make it hard for life forms to have "peace and quiet".

The region where it is 32 degrees sounds OK, but where the temperature is 32 degrees, the pressure is about the same as it would be if you were a couple miles below the sea on Earth. This region is probably within Jupiter's liquid region. The air of Jupiter is definitely a region that is well below freezing temperatures!

In the atmosphere there are at least three known cloud decks of ammonia, ammonia-combined-with-sulfur, and water, perhaps even made of huge droplets.

There is energy in the environment from lightning, ultraviolet light, and charged particles.

Jupiter's interior possesses an environment of pressures as great as three million times the sea-level pressure on earth, and temperatures as high as 10,000 degrees.

Overall, this environment sounds very unfriendly to life as we know it on earth.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

The Spring 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist, focuses on the ocean, including articles on polar research, coral reefs, ocean acidification, and climate. Includes a gorgeous full color poster!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Jupiter's Belts and Zones

The striped cloud bands on Jupiter are certainly not as straight as they appear to be in this picture! The picture shows that the striped pattern is divided into belts and zones. The belts and zones of...more

Can there be Life in the Environment of Jupiter?

Jupiter's atmospheric environment is one of strong gravity, high pressure, strong winds, from 225 miles per hour to 1000 miles per hour, and cold temperatures of -270 degrees to +32 degrees (freezing temperature)....more

The possible discovery of Life on Mars

In July, 1996, it was announced that Dr. David McKay, along with a team of scientists at Johnson Space Center (a division of NASA), had discovered possible fossils of bacteria in a meteorite named ALH84...more

The Environment of Saturn

Saturn's atmospheric environment is one of strong gravity, high pressure, strong winds, from 225 miles per hour to 1000 miles per hour, and cold temperatures of -270 degrees to +80 degrees. With winds...more

Can there be Life in the Environment of Titan?

Titan's atmosphere is a lot like the Earth's, except that it is very cold, from -330 degrees to -290 degrees! Like the Earth, there is a lot of Nitrogen and other complex molecules. There also may be an...more

Autotrophs

Autotrophs are organisms that can "make their own food" from an inorganic source of carbon (carbon dioxide) given a source of energy. Most autotrophs use sunlight in the process of photosynthesis to make...more

Coacervates

In the warm primordial ocean, aggregates of amino acids, proteins, and other hydrocarbons came together into a form called *coacervates*. Amino acids will spontaneously form coacervates in the same way...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA