Ambassador: Alkina, I am looking forward to seeing the largest planet in your solar system.
Alkina: Ah, Jupiter, named after the Roman king of gods, is large enough to contain 1300 of our Earths.
Ambassador: Had proto-planetary circumstances been a little different, it could have been another star in the system.
Alkina: Yes. For a long time it was referred to by some astronomers as a failed star.
Ambassador: What can you say about the great storm?
Epo: Known as the Great Red Spot, it is a prominent feature of Jupiter’s atmosphere, large enough to contain two Earths.
Ambassador: Wasn’t the first life outside your planet discovered on one of Jupiter’s moons?
Alkina: Correct. Under Europa’s icy surface lies an ocean of water. Microorganisms were discovered on Europa in the Earth year 2057.
Ambassador: I would imagine that such a large planet would also act as a guard for the inner solar system.
Alkina: Yes. Because of Jupiter’s large gravity, it is jokingly known as the solar system’s vacuum cleaner because it pulls in stray comets and asteroids that may threaten the inner planets.
Ambassador: Jupiter really is a magnificent planet.
Alkina: Thank you. We think so too.
What does it mean?
Great Red Spot – is a giant hurricane that has existed on Jupiter for at least 300 years. It is not known whether it will ever disappear.
Microorganism – As the name implies, a microorganism is an organism that is microscopic in size, usually too small to be seen with unaided human eye.
Inner solar system – Is the region of space that is smaller than the radius of Jupiter’s orbit around the sun. It contains the asteroid belt as well as the terrestrial planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.
Is that all?
IYA Discovery Guide – September’s theme is Planets and Moons. You can see Jupiter in the sky right now and this guide will show you how.
Life on Europa? – The Why Files discusses the possibility of life on Europa.