For the past year, NASA has been quietly observing and analyzing Jupiter’s aurorae using multiple spacecraft. The space agency has determined that the planet’s northern and southern lights are being caused by an unprecedented number of cosmic rays colliding with the planet’s charged atmosphere. This hypothesis solves a mystery that has confounded scientists for decades.

Most people are familiar with Jupiter’s four famous moons: Io, Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto. The most intriguing of these is probably Io, the most volcanically active body in the Solar System. But even more unusual are the auroras that grace Jupiter’s poles; they’re visible from Earth and can be tracked using modern telescopes. These lights are caused by energetic charged particles that are constantly bombarded from outside the solar system. The question has long been: what causes these particles to collide with the planet at such high speeds?

Since no plausible natural cause has ever been identified, NASA has focused its attention on extraterrestrial life as a possible explanation; the space agency recently launched the LUVS (Luminous UltraViolet Spectrometer) telescope to search for evidence of microbial life on Jupiter. The hope is that one day, scientists will discover a sample of organisms that resemble those inhabiting our world. But even if that doesn’t happen, the discovery of life elsewhere in the Solar System would be a major game changer.

Multiple Passageways Forster Belt

The most straightforward way to analyze Jupiter’s composition is to study the planet’s moons. The most prolific of these is undoubtedly Ganymede. Orbiting at the outer edges of the Solar System, Ganymede is the largest moon in the Solar System and is also the fifth-largest moon in the Solar System overall. The space agency’s Galileo Galilei mission orbited Jupiter between 1995 and 2003 and was the first spacecraft to study Ganymede in detail. The satellite revealed the existence of a prominent ring around the moon, which is made up of dust and ice.

The structure of Ganymede’s atmosphere is also remarkably similar to Earth’s; this is likely because the two planets share a similar composition. In fact, Ganymede’s lower-atmosphere is nearly indistinguishable from that of Earth’s. This is mainly because it is composed of hydrogen and helium, two light gases that are quite abundant in the Solar System. However, a major difference between the two atmospheres is that Earth’s atmosphere is extremely thin, while Ganymede’s is much deeper. This is mainly a result of the two planets having very different compositions. The dust that constitutes Ganymede’s ring is chiefly composed of silicates and sulfates, which are the building blocks of rock. But the bulk of the planet’s interior is likely made up of some form of ices, which is why the moons are frequently referred to as “the giants’ ice princes.” The ice in Ganymede’s oceans may also contain heavier elements like mercury and gold, which was first detected by the Galileo spacecraft. Unfortunately, because of its distance from the Sun, Ganymede has the least energetic environment of any of the Solar System’s planets. This means that its ice could be quite susceptible to solar radiation, which in turn could cause it to sublimate.

Deep Craters On Callisto

If you ever watched any of the Alien movies, you may have noticed that the victims in these films were almost always some variation of the human form. This is probably because deep-space travel is extremely uncomfortable for anyone, even in a well-equipped spaceship. The same goes for the extremely long space voyages that are required to reach the outer planets in the Solar System. While many people dream of visiting the stars, travelling to another planet is so far removed from our current reality that it’s basically a daydream.

If you want to visit another planet, the first thing you need to do is find a way to get there. The second thing you need to do is spend a large amount of time there. The third thing you need to do is make sure that your visit is both comfortable and cost-effective. Once you’ve completed those three steps, you can begin to fantasize about the fun that you’ll have once you arrive. But the reality is that, even if you travel to another planet and find it to be a favorable environment, you’ll still need a way to survive once you get there.

Luckily, while we await the discovery of extraterrestrial life, we have another way to get a glimpse at the composition of Jupiter. NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been studying the planet for the past year and has recently completed what is arguably its most important and revealing mission yet. On May 4th, 2018, Juno launched from Earth and began orbiting the planet in under a week. The probe has only been studying Jupiter for a relatively short time, but it has already provided scientists with an abundance of valuable data. One of the most interesting things that Juno has discovered is the existence of a series of massive storm clouds that encircle the planet. These massive clouds are not random events but instead appear to be organized as if by a sentient being. In fact, it’s quite possible that these storms are the work of aliens.

Deep Dark Craters On Mercury

Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun and the smallest of the Solar System’s eight planets. This means that it receives the most direct and energetic radiation from the Sun. But while this is quite cozy for Earth-bound life forms, it’s extremely unfriendly for organic molecules. That’s because exposure to high levels of UV radiation causes significant damage to living things. But it’s impossible to avoid completely. This is why Mercury has no permanent surface features like oceans or continents; instead, the entire surface is blanketed in a toxic environment that is extremely inhospitable to life. Mercury is the least-known of the Solar System’s planets. The first evidence of its former presence was found in 1836 by the astronomer William Herschel, who observed the planet using a telescope. Since then, very little has been found out about this most cryptic of the Solar System’s planets. Due to its proximity to the Sun and lack of an atmosphere, Mercury is the most extreme example of what happens when life forms are subjected to high levels of UV radiation. This is mainly because the Sun’s UV rays pass directly through the atmosphere and into the surface. Fortunately, there is one important exception. Astronomers have discovered a number of polar lakes at the planet’s two poles, which are filled with liquid water. While there is no permanent evidence of life on Mercury, there is certainly plenty of life in its lakes. And perhaps it’s time that we found out more about this most enigmatic of the Solar System’s planets.

Colliding Particles

Jupiter is the third planet from the Sun and the largest of the Solar System’s four classical planets. Like Earth, Jupiter is a common host for meteor showers, which is why astronomers often refer to it as the “King of the Solar System.” But while Earth’s meteors are almost certainly the result of natural and often destructive causes, the majority of Jupiter’s meteors are believed to be the result of collisions. This is mainly because the space-going Hubble Telescope has determined, using the gravity method, that Jupiter is a ball of matter with a diameter of about 1200 miles (about 2122 kilometers). This means there is a huge amount of space for objects to collide with, and it’s quite possible that the numerous meteor showers that grace Jupiter are a result of these collisions. The energy released by these collisions is likely responsible for the planet’s powerful auroras. But the biggest mystery regarding Jupiter is how it retains its atmosphere. The space agency’s Juno spacecraft, which is currently in orbit around the planet, aims to unlock this riddle and has already discovered that the source of the atmospheric pressure is not the Sun but rather the numerous meteor showers that rattle around the planet. While many people are fascinated by Jupiter, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that it is in fact, outer space that fascinates us most.