Jupiter ate baby planets to grow up big and strong: Study from NASA's Juno Mission

The reason why Jupiter’s mass is twice as much as every other planet in our solar system combined might be it ate other smaller ones.

A new study, using data from NASA’s Juno mission, aims to learn more about Jupiter’s origins, as the recent investigation revealed that its mysterious core is even more massive than previous models had predicted it would be.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been collecting images and information about Jupiter’s inner workings since 2016, but scientists have only just begun to parse the data.

The latest findings delivered confounding evidence that Jupiter’s core region makes up three times as much of its body as previously thought

Older theories expected its middle to take up about 10% of the planet’s total mass. Actually, they found, it’s closer to 30%.

Researchers have now come up with a new theory — that it gobbled up baby planets, called planetesimals. This could explain how it would end up with such a dense core

The study  could add to the understanding of how gas giants form and, perhaps, how they prevent other potential planets from forming.

Miguel, a renowned astrophysicist, said future high-resolution observations of the gaseous giant, such as those coming from NASA’s Juno, will be key to unpacking the planet’s past.


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