Jupiter as a sun

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steve01

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On another forum someone asked if jupiter could be turned into a star, so as to create a mini solar system with the jovian moons. However, I'm pretty confident that the planet does not have sufficient mass and density to be a stable star. But, is it possible that it is already a star just not in the way way perceive them to be . . . Could the radiation emitted by Jupiter be the life-giving fuel for alien life on the jovian moons? thoughts?!
 
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mooware

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I think you are right, there is not enough mass or density for Jupiter to become a star. It does look like a mini solar system though. <br /><br />As for the radiation. It would likely eradicate life on a moon unless the moon had some type of barrier to prevent radiation getting through. (under the ice of Europa perhaps). <br /><br />I think the tidal forces created by jupiter on a close orbiting moon might create sufficient energy to support rudimentary kind of life. Again, provided ample protection from radiation.<br /><br />Or did I dream it?<br />
 
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steve01

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But is it possible that the radiation is the life-giving energy source to organisms that are completely unlike terrestrial lifeforms . . . Isn't radiation just light only at shorter wave-lengths?
 
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spacechump

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Radiation is a broad catagory. Radiation is everything from the entire electromagnetic spectrum (including visible light, radio waves, and more harmful ionizing wavelengths like x-rays and gamma rays) to alpha and beta radiation which is stray energetic protons and electrons respectively. But you also have radiation like energetic heavy ions and also neutrons which can be devastating in high doses.
 
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CalliArcale

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Yes, light is electromagnetic radiation, just like gamma rays and x-rays and microwaves and things like that! And light can be harmful; ultraviolet radiation is the number one cause of skin cancer in humans (and probably other animals too). There is other radiation as well, though -- charged particles. These aren't photons. They're naked subatomic particles. Neutrinos are harmless, but some subatomic particles can cause harm. The Apollo astronauts reported seeing strange flashes of light from time to time. These were the impacts of alpha particles on their retinas. Most alpha particles were passing straight through them unimpeded, but a few would hit their retinas.<br /><br />The reason radiation is so harmful, besides the fact that in certain circumstances it can cook you (as radio waves are used to heat food in your microwave), is that it can disrupt the delicate structure of your DNA. This can lead to cancer for the individual, but for the species it causes mutations. These mutations can be beneficial; that's how evolution works. But they can also cause problems. If the DNA is getting corrupted more quickly than it can be repaired (through internal repair processes in the individual, or through breeding out of bad mutations in the long run), it will lead to declining fertility and declining survival rates and eventually the species will die out. If the mutations are sufficiently severe, reproduction won't even be possible -- the genes will be too badly corrupted to produce viable offspring.<br /><br />There are ways organisms can cope with it, though. One possibility is extremely robust genes. Perhaps an alien race might use something less prone to radiation damage than deoxyribonucleic acid. Another possibility is rigorous error checking in the genetic material. Compare it to the Galileo space probe. Your computer wouldn't work at all in the vicinity of Jupiter. It'd even have a tough time in Earth orbit, because radiation would be inducing spurio <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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qzzq

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<i>However, I'm pretty confident that the planet does not have sufficient mass and density to be a stable star.</i><br /><br />That is correct. Jupiter would need 84 times its own mass, before it could start burning hydrogen. It could develop into a Brown Dwarf after gaining 10 times its current mass. <br /><br />I liked how Arthur C. Clark did the trick with the Van Neumann machines in 2010. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p>***</p> </div>
 
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killium

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"There is nothing living on Jupiter or in orbit around it"<br /><br />Oh! you've been there ?<br /><br />"The environments off the earth are lethal & hostile to "life as we know it""<br /><br />And what about life that we don't know ?<br /><br />The original question was a scientific one IMHO. Could radiation be food for ALIEN life ? This is an inquiry at what can usefully be done with radiation, it doesn't belong into the SETI forum. A question like "Do the alien from Mars are able to survive with Jupiter's kind of radiation ?" would definitly go into SETI.<br /><br />If you cannot see that talking about alien life IS speculative in nature and is a way to try to understand our type of life, then YOU belong in the SETI forum and shouldn't post nor read here.<br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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steve01

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Thanks stevehw33,<br />For a moment there I was under the misguided perception that this forum was visited by open-minded people in the pursuit of expanding knowledge and using it a sounding board for ideas.<br />Perhaps the SETI fora (sic) would be a better place to talk of life beyond this planet, but your blatant ignorance brings shame to the entire space.com message board.<br />Futhermore, every post you have made today bags on someone else . . . why don't you try coming up with an independent thought instead of trying to shread apart everyone else's ideas. In the past I have respected your posts but now, all I see you as is a malignancy to this board!
 
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killium

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I just want to add that in my reply, i treated the SETI forum in the same way as you did, which is not my perception of it. The suggestion made about having a UFO forum separate from the SETI forum is a good one that i support. Now guess in which of the two i consider you should go ? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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fortytwo

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stevehw33,<br /><br />What happened?? <br /><br />You were doing so well too.
 
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chew_on_this

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I didn't know we sent probes there specifically to look for life yet.
 
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CalliArcale

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>There is no ET life known. There is no life away from or off the earth.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />So what? The discussion is purely hypothetical, and interesting. We all know there's been no evidence whatsoever of life on the Jovian moons, but why can't we speculate about it? If nothing else, it'll be enormously useful if we ever want to try to colonize those worlds, so we know what we'd have to do to make Earth organisms survive the environment there.<br /><br />Besides, there IS evidence of life off of the Earth -- the Apollo astronauts brought back part of Surveyor 3, which had harbored viable terrestrial microbes. Now, these were not lunar natives, obviously. They came from Earth. (And from spacecraft which had been sanitized to vainly try to prevent that sort of contamination, interestingly enough.) But the fact that they survived suggests that it is possible for life to survive in such an environment, which in turn suggests that Earth may actually have seeded other worlds already.<br /><br />If Galileo had been allowed to remain in orbit, terrestrial life forms might eventually have colonized a moon of Jupiter, possibly even Europa.... <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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mooware

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<font color="yellow">"Such unsubstantiated nonsense belongs in the SETI fora"</font><br /><br />I don't think that Steve01 made any such claim. He asked if it were possible.. Which means speculation. Not a claim.<br /><br />
 
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chew_on_this

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How does that old saying go? Abscence of evidence does not mean evidence of abscence.
 
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thalion

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Sirius might go supernova in the distant future, once the primary turns into a red giant. Sirius B is already massive for a white dwarf, at ~ 1 solar mass; it would only have to accrete .4 solar masses from the (future) red giant Sirius A to reach the Chandrasekhar limit, collapse and explode as a Type Ia supernova.<br /><br />link:<br />http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr162/lect/supernovae/type1.html
 
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mcbethcg

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I would like to see a mission landed on Europa, with a nuclear heat source so that it could melt its way down to a hypothetical ocean. How deep would it have to go? How thick is the ice supposed to be? Would it be able to report its findings?<br /><br />I would design the probe to be bouyant, with weights to be dropped when it is time to ascend back to the surface. A long slow melt going down, and then a long slow melt coming back up to radio the data home.
 
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