Why these giant planets matter – Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, is usually dominated by two dark bands in its atmosphere, with one in the north and one in the south. Now one of its red stripes seems to missing and astronomers don’t know what’s going on.
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We’re about to discover life on Mars?now astronomers think there may be life on a moon of Jupiter!

With average temperatures of minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit, an almost nonexistent atmosphere and a complex web of cracks in a layer of ice encompassing the entire surface, the environment on Jupiter?s moon Europa is about as alien as they come. So are the enormous forces behind the surface display, namely an ocean beneath the ice nine times deeper than Earth?s deepest ocean trench and gravitational affects from a planet 318 times the mass of Earth.
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When astronomers used to search for solar systems with planets that might harbor life, they looked for a large planet in the outer orbit, like Jupiter, because they thought these planets absorbed the blows from incoming space rocks that could kill off all life on smaller planets in interior orbits. But now they know that isn’t true.

New computer calculations show that while it is true that Jupiter keeps some comets from hitting the earth, it ALSO sends almost as many comets towards us as it deflects, because its large mass actually attracts incoming objects. In BBC News, Liz Seward quotes Jonathan Horner as saying, “Rather than it being a clear cut case that Jupiter acts as a shield, it seems that Jupiter almost gives with one hand and takes away with the other.”
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How to dispose of radioactive materials is a major problem. It’s not just medical waste?it’s also the radioactive materials that power space satellites that we need to worry about. Jupiter has always been the “trash can” of our Solar System, absorbing the blows from space rocks that might otherwise destroy smaller planets (like us). Now there are plans to crash a spent satellite into Jupiter, making it a burial place for nuclear material as well.
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