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The best way to explore a new world is to land on it.
That's why humans have sent spacecrafts to the Moon, Venus, Mars, Saturn's moon Titan, and more.
But there are a few places in the solar system we will never understand as well as we'd like.
One of them is Jupiter.
Jupiter is made of mostly hydrogen and helium gas, so trying to land on it would be like trying to land on a cloud here on Earth.
There's no outer crust to break your fall on Jupiter, just an endless stretch of atmosphere.
The big question then is: Could you fall through one end of Jupiter and out the other?
Turns out, you wouldn't even make it halfway.
First things first, Jupiter's atmosphere has no oxygen, so make sure you bring plenty with you to breathe.
The next problem is the scorching temperatures, so pack an air conditioner.
Now, you're ready for a journey of epic proportions.
For scale, here's how many Earths you could stack from Jupiter's center.
As you enter the top of the atmosphere, you're traveling at 110,000 miles per hour under the pull of Jupiter's gravity.
But brace yourself.
You'll quickly hit the denser atmosphere below, which will hit you like a wall.
It won't be enough to stop you, though.
After about 3 minutes, you'll reach the cloud tops 155 miles down.
Here, you'll experience the full brunt of Jupiter's rotation.
Jupiter is actually the fastest rotating planet in our solar system.
One day lasts about 9 and a half Earth hours.
This creates powerful winds that can whip around the planet at more than 300 miles per hour.
About 75 miles below the clouds, you reach the limit of human exploration.
Galileo probe made it this far when it dove into Jupiter's atmosphere in 1995.
It only lasted 58 minutes before losing contact and was eventually destroyed by the crushing pressure.
Down here, the pressure is nearly 100 times what it is on Earth's surface, and you won't be able to see anything,
so you'll have to rely on instruments to explore your surroundings.
By 430 miles down, the pressure is 1,150 times higher.
You might be able to survive down here if you were in a spacecraft built like the Trieste submarine, the deepest-diving submarine on Earth.
Any deeper and the pressure and the temperature will be too great for the spacecraft to endure.
However, let's say that you could find a way to descend even further.
You will uncover some of Jupiter's grandest mysteries.
But sadly, you'll have no way to tell anyone.
Jupiter's deep atmosphere absorbs radio waves, so you'd be shut off from the outside world, unable to communicate.
Once you've reached 2,500 miles down, the temperature is 6,100 degrees Fahrenheit.
That's hot enough to melt tungsten, the metal with the highest melting point in the universe.
At this point, you will have been falling for at least 12 hours, and you won't even be halfway through.
At 13,000 miles down, you'll reach Jupiter's innermost layer.
Here, the pressure is two million times stronger than that of Earth's surface, and the temperature is hotter than the surface of the Sun.
These conditions are so extreme that they change the chemistry of hydrogen around you.
Hydrogen molecules are forced so close together that their electrons break loose, forming an unusual substance called metallic hydrogen.
Metallic hydrogen is highly reflective.
So if you tried using lights to see down there, it would be impossible, and it's as dense as a rock.
So, as you travel deeper, the buoyancy force from the metallic hydrogen counteracts gravity's downward pull.
Eventually, that buoyancy will shoot you back up until gravity pulls you right back down, sort of like a yo-yo.
And when those two forces equal, you'll be left free-floating in mid-Jupiter, unable to move up or down, and no way of escape.
Suffice it to say, trying to land on Jupiter is a bad idea.
We may never see what's beneath those majestic clouds.
But we can still study and admire this mysterious planet from afar.
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如果人類試圖在木星「登陸」,會發生什麼事? (What Would Happen If Humans Tried To Land On Jupiter)

418 分類 收藏
Huahua 發佈於 2018 年 8 月 24 日    Jerry Liu 翻譯    Evangeline 審核
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