This week we tackle Allana's question: If we were to travel to gas giant Jupiter, would we sink to the core? Or float straight on through? Heather Douglas put this to Dr Marc Rayman from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab to see if he could clear the air...
My understanding is that there is a solid core at the center of Jupiter (not sure about planets like Saturn). Even in Jupiter's case, the solid part is an incredibly small fraction of the planet. One could say that it is a rocky planet with an enormous atmosphere, but since there is so much "atmosphere" it really doesn't make sense to talk about it that way. chiralSPO, Mon, 1st Jun 2015
If there is no phase change ("surface") you can't land on it! alancalverd, Mon, 1st Jun 2015
It would not be difficult to land on Jupiter or any other planet.
I think the ship would get stuck somewhere in the upper atmosphere when the density of the ship equals the density of the surrounding gas. It would be like a hot air balloon kind of floating a few hundred meters above the ground (except theres no ground to see). Or like how some fauna spend most their life in a band of the ocean. Also you would get blown around at hurricane speeds in the gas bands. So while you can't land, you could float around on a cruise. SiempreFillInTheBlank, Tue, 9th Jun 2015
I agree that the ship would sink to the depth at which its density was about the same as the surrounding environment and go no further. However, if that ship is made of anything denser than hydrogen, it will have a very long fall.