While analyzing the Great Red Spot, a centuries-old storm and the trademark of the most massive planet of our Solar System, NASA scientists discovered signs of water on Jupiter in the deepest clouds of the tempest of the giant planet. Besides, this recent study also revealed that the giant gas planet has oxygen levels by 2-9 times higher than the Sun.
Astrophysicist Gordon Bjoraker and his team made the finding, and a report on the study’s results would be released in the September issue of the Astronomical Journal. Using Earth telescopes, the researchers observed the high-resolution spectra of the Great Red Spot and noticed the presence of water cloud.
According to NASA, the discovery “supports theoretical and computer-simulation models that have predicted abundant water on Jupiter made of oxygen tied up with molecular hydrogen.” Additionally, NASA claimed that the researchers were lucky to make this finding since the experiment might’ve easily failed.
NASA scientists found signs of water on Jupiter in the deepest clouds of the Great Red Spot
The observation of water cloud was challenging as Jupiter’s Great Red Spot was reported to be full of thick clouds that make it virtually impossible for astronomers to analyze its chemical composition. However, Gordon Bjoraker and his team managed to do it and find signs of water on Jupiter, as well as the fact that the giant gas planet has 2-9 time more oxygen than the Sun.
“It turns out they are not so thick that they block our ability to see deeply. That’s been a pleasant surprise,” said Bjoraker.
However, now, NASA plans on setting up Juno probe to analyze the scientists’ findings. If proven correct, the US space agency could employ similar methods to find signs of water on other planets without the need to send space probes. That would be revolutionary, the scientists think.