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Vue de Jupiter capturée par la sonde Juno le 25 février 2022. L'ombre sur la gauche de l'image est causée par l'un de ses satellites, Ganymède. © Nasa / JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

Jupiter had devoured the minor planets during his youth

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[EN VIDÉO] Fly over Jupiter with the Juno spacecraft
Discover Jupiter like you’ve never seen it before thanks to the work of a citizen scientist. Using images collected by the Juno probe, he was able to create a 3D model of the Jovian surface, which provides a breathtaking overview.

Fifth planet in our solar system in order of distance to our planet starAnd the Jupiter On the other hand, it is the largest (approximately 140,000 kilometers in diameter) and the largest (more than 300 times the mass of the Earth). similar in composition to Sunconsisting mainly ofhydrogen And the’heliumThe gas giant You may have been before accumulation of material in nebula Solar. But it seems that the presence of the so-called metallic elements, heavier than helium, indicates that Jupiter will have not only gaseous substances accumulated during its early stages of existence, but also metallic elements, potentially coming from protoplanets, solid substances, called planets.

Many probes to study the giant solar system

Despite visiting many probes since the beginning of the seventies, Jupiter is still full of secrets: Gas Known to him is only representative of the upper fifty kilometers fromatmosphere of the planet, impeding anyone’s view of its internal structure and composition.

In 1995, the probe Galileo standing in orbiting around Jupiter and dropped a small atmospheric probe there, which provided us with valuable information about the composition of the upper layers of its atmosphere, before it was crushed by the powerful the pressure who reigns there. It was then necessary to wait until 2016 for the investigation to take place Juno subordinate NASA It is placed in orbit around Jupiter with the aim of collecting data on the planet’s inner layers, in particular by studying its gravitational field. It’s still operating today, and NASA plans to stop the mission in 2025.

Training processes are still under discussion

Although the idea that Jupiter was formed through the accumulation of gas in Cloud Protosolar is generally accepted, the period and processes of accretion of mineral elements are still debated. The majority of the scientific community agrees that during its formation, the planet first accumulated rocky material, and then followed a rapid period of gaseous accumulation, which gave it its current dimensions. But the period of accumulation of rocky material remains very mysterious: Could the planet have formed large rocky bodies – small planets – during the early stages of its existence, or would it have been limited to picking up debris?

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a New study He claims that he is able to make the decision, thanks to the exploitation of gravity data collected by Juno: according to the authors, clues to the composition and evolution of Jupiter lie in the depths of its atmosphere. By mapping the presence of metallic elements in the planet’s core, derived from measurements made by the Gravity Science instrument installed on the probe, scientists have succeeded in highlighting the highly heterogeneous nature of its atmosphere: the majority of the metallic elements are concentrated toward the center, for a total mass ranging from 11 And 30 times the mass of the Earth.

Thus, Jupiter would have continued to accumulate large amounts of metallic elements while extending its gaseous envelope.

According to the study’s authors, when a protoplanet is massive enough, it will begin to expel debris surrounding it, due to its very low mass; However, the richness in mineral elements was observed in gas giant It was not accessible before Jupiter was too massive to repel all the debris, which indicates the role of the most massive rocky bodies in the early stages of the planet’s accretion.

Thus, Jupiter would have continued to accumulate large amounts of metallic elements while extending its gaseous envelope, calling into question the hypothesis of two distinct accretion periods. Moreover, the heterogeneous nature of Jupiter’s atmosphere seems to explain the absence of effective convective processes in its inner layers, which scientists previously believed to be present.

In addition to a more accurate view of Jupiter’s internal structure and evolutionary processes, this study could also have implications for the study of outer planets gases and mineral.

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