The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Could a multi-stage probe be used to reach and study the surface of Jupiter?  (Read 506 times)

Offline Europan Ocean

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 153
  • Thanked: 3 times
    • View Profile
Is it possible to send a strong material space probe to Jupiter to fall in with a parachute that is in sections and which drops off another division in a sequence over may hours to form a relay, sending back pictures in visible and infra red, of the descent and or from the landing vehicle, when it detects a surface?

Maybe it would have to be made of artificial diamond or graphene?



« Last Edit: 16/07/2016 19:30:20 by chris »


 

Offline evan_au

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4106
  • Thanked: 245 times
    • View Profile
It is undoubtedly possible to send a probe to Jupiter.

It is a challenge to:
- provide enough fuel to get into a low orbit around Jupiter
- survive the very high velocity atmospheric entry which accrues due to Jupiter's very high gravity.

Descending on a parachute will provide a survey of the atmosphere at different heights.

Another suggestion is a "hot-air" balloon, which would allow a probe to stay aloft in the atmosphere of Jupiter for months or years. By adjusting the temperature and/or pressure of the gas in the balloon, the probe could perform a controlled descents and ascents within the atmosphere to sample different heights at different times and places on Jupiter.

Note: Due to Jupiter's hydrogen-rich atmosphere and vigorous lightning, the balloon must not contain oxygen, but must be filled with hydrogen.
 

Offline PmbPhy

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2760
  • Thanked: 38 times
    • View Profile
Quote from: Europan Ocean
Is it possible to send a strong material space probe to Jupiter to fall in with a parachute that is in sections and which drops off another division in a sequence over may hours to form a relay, sending back pictures in visible and infra red, of the descent and or from the landing vehicle, when it detects a surface?
Sure. In my very humble opinion the best way to go about this is to first insert the probe into an orbit around Jupiter. That way the main body of the probe can be filled with instruments and as such serve as a station for the smaller probe which will dropped into Jupiter's atmosphere. The best, most efficient way to put an object into orbit around Jupiter would be to do it the same way that it was done in the movie 2010: The Year We Make Contact. That movie was written by Arthur C. Clarke, a college educated physicist. They used what's known as a Ballute which, in general, uses a combination of a balloon and parachute, to bleed off energy to slow the probe down enough to insert it into orbit around Jupiter. Wikipedia discusses them at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballute

Otherwise you'd have to bring along a lot of fuel to use in the retro rockets which will slow the probe down enough to put it into orbit around Jupiter and fuel is expensive, require a larger rocket making this a bit more complicated I would imagine.

However since Jupiter is not a solid body it lacks a well-defined surface. So you can forget about a conventional type p landing. I doubt that it has anything like an ocean for a surface. I'm not an astronomer so I'm not 100% certain what the interior of Jupiter is like. You can read about it at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter

I hope that helped and/or was somewhat informative.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum


 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums