Would it be possible to "detonate" Jupiter?

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TheJenk

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Seeing as how Jupiter is composed largely of hydrogen, I have at times pondered whether a run-away nuclear reaction could be touched off within it by parachuting in one or more nuclear weapons. I assume that at least some hydrogen fusion would occur, but how much? Could Jupiter actually be exploded?
 
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bdewoody

Guest
Are you asking whether Jupiter could be turned into a star? My view is that it is doubtful. Jupiter, while massive, is by a factor of 10 too small to sustain a fusion reaction.
 
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Shpaget

Guest
You do realize how big that thing is, don't you?
When the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided wit Jupiter in 1994 it was estimated that the impact generated an energy equivalent to 6,000,000 megatons of TNT (600 times the world's nuclear arsenal) (data from wiki), and that's just from one of the fragments..

So, you can nuke it, but it will just swallow all and every one of your little attempts.
It's like trying to use a paper airplane to kill an elephant... wearing a full battle armor.
 
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AlnitakAlnilamMintaka

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TheJenk":ccs03inz said:
Seeing as how Jupiter is composed largely of hydrogen, I have at times pondered whether a run-away nuclear reaction could be touched off within it by parachuting in one or more nuclear weapons. I assume that at least some hydrogen fusion would occur, but how much? Could Jupiter actually be exploded?
Short Answer: No
Long Answer: True that Jupiter is large. It is mainly composed of hydrogen, but despite all that. There is not enough oxygen to light it. If there was you could take a match to Jupiter. Same deal with Saturn, or it's moon Titan (but this is a hydrocarbon atmosphere). So, no, you couldn't detonate Jupiter.
 
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centsworth_II

Guest
AlnitakAlnilamMintaka":2mqkpiv4 said:
...True that Jupiter is large. It is mainly composed of hydrogen, but despite all that. There is not enough oxygen to light it....
The question was not about exploding Jupiter as a mix of hydrogen and oxygen would do, but about exploding it as a hydrogen bomb would.

A hydrogen bomb essentially uses a plutonium (fission) bomb to compress hydrogen to the point that it fuses and creates an even larger explosion than the initial fission trigger explosion. The question was, could we send a trigger bomb to Jupiter to act as a trigger like the plutonium bomb acts as a trigger in the larger hydrogen bomb.

My understanding is that hydrogen fusion is not a runaway reaction, but requires an input of force to compress the hydrogen atoms together. As soon as that force is gone, the reaction stops.
 
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darkmatter4brains

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centsworth_II":z2h922ca said:
My understanding is that hydrogen fusion is not a runaway reaction, but requires an input of force to compress the hydrogen atoms together. As soon as that force is gone, the reaction stops.
I believe so too. And, like somebody else said, Jupiter ain't big enough to keep it going. The tremendous gravitational pressure of the Sun is what keeps fusion going in it's core - which has no (well very, very little at least) oxygen in there.
 
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ramparts

Guest
Exactly. Jupiter isn't massive enough to sustain hydrogen fusion. Never has been, never will be. An H-bomb wouldn't do much of anything, except piss it off.
 
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AlnitakAlnilamMintaka

Guest
centsworth_II":2jizz1io said:
The question was, could we send a trigger bomb to Jupiter to act as a trigger like the plutonium bomb acts as a trigger in the larger hydrogen bomb.
The topic says detonate, so that technically is different. To me, it sounded like it meant, overall, "Can we blow up Jupiter?", but in addition, "would we be able to start fusion?". Mabye I read it wrong. But, that was my understanding.

If I recall, it says:
TheJenk":2jizz1io said:
Could Jupiter actually be exploded?
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
Yes, but the thread title said "detonate"

That is why precise use of scientific terms is very important, especially in the Physics forum!!
 
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AlnitakAlnilamMintaka

Guest
MeteorWayne":1fpclkdz said:
That is why precise use of scientific terms is very important, especially in the Physics forum!!
Okay okay! GOSH PEOPLE!
 
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kg

Guest
TheJenk":npbbrxt2 said:
....Could Jupiter actually be exploded?
Yes. Ok, try this... direct head on collision with a white dwarf star. The white dwarf having a mass something like that of the sun crammed into a volume something like the size of the earth would pass through the planet jupiter like a cannon ball through a cloud. There should be lots of hydrogen fusion going on in the shock wave left in the white dwarfs wake, maybe enough to blow Jupiter to bits.
 
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Shpaget

Guest
The question was "Could it be done using nuclear weapons."
Let's not throw stars around. Or if you want to, why don't you just teleport one just-about-to-go-supernova supernova in its core and be done with it?
 
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kg

Guest
Shpaget":2rh0hqez said:
The question was "Could it be done using nuclear weapons."
Let's not throw stars around....
Sorry, that was a bit irresponsible of me. I was concentrating on the "blowing up Jupiter" part of the question, took the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 comment and scaled it up to something that would be more up to the task.

Luckily runaway nuclear reactions are difficult to start.
Two questions:

1) In an event like a Shoemaker-Levy 9 collision, with "an energy equivalent to 6,000,000 megatons of TNT" would there be ANY hydrogen fusion in Jupiters atmosphear at the site of the explosion.

2) What did Jupiter do to The Jenk that he wants to blow it up?
 
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TheJenk

Guest
lol, its blocking my view of Saturn! I don't actually want to blow Jupiter up, it was just a thought experiment. Although if such a thing were possible, it just might come in handy for any future interstellar wars we might get into with ET civilizations.

Thats a great point about the comet that impacted Jupiter. That certainly would have done something if Jupiter were indeed a giant H-bomb waiting to be set off. I guess I forgot that the H-bombs humans build use (what is it, deuterium and tritium?) hydrogen isotopes, and that regular hydrogen is much too stable to easily fuse.

I was thinking if you dropped nuclear weapons deep enough into Jupiter's atmosphere to where there is already intense pressure and then arranged them geometrically in a group of at least 4 warheads so that when detonated simultaeneously, the shockwaves would converge and trap a pocket atmospheric hydrogen, compressing it intensely while bathing it in gamma rays. But I suppose even in an ideal scenario, very little hydrogen would fuse, since it is not the heavy type.
 
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