Jupiter has more water than we thought, according to Juno data

Space Science

Processed using the JunoCam imager’s PJ24 North North Temperate Belt raw images and data from NASA’s Juno spacecraft flyby on December 26, 2019. Enhanced to highlight features, clouds, colours, and the beauty of Jupiter. ( NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Tanya Oleksuik)

MYSTERY WIRE — Jupiter just got a whole lot more interesting.

The Juno probe has detected more hydrogen and oxygen in Jupiter’s atmosphere that scientists expected. The ingredients for water make up a mere 0.25% of the atmosphere over Jupiter’s equator, Space.com reports:

READ: Surprise! There’s more water on Jupiter than anyone thought

That’s a reversal on the Galileo probe’s findings, which indicated far less water than scientists anticipated. In fact, 10 times less. They are now studying if Galileo just sampled a very dry spot of Jupiter.

More data might shed light on the puzzle when Juno does another flyby on April 10.

Just when we think we have things figured out, Jupiter reminds us how much we still have to learn. Juno’s surprise discovery that the atmosphere was not well mixed even well below the cloud tops is a puzzle that we are still trying to figure out. No one would have guessed that water might be so variable across the planet.

Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute

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