Jupiter, the Great Benefactor
This article Jupiter, the Great Benefactor was originally an integral part of the parent article "Why are we here?", but given the fact the parent article was growing extremely huge, I decided for the sake of simplicity to have the section "Jupiter, the Great Benefactor" on a separate thread for simplicity and easy reading. See below the summary of the main article "Why are we here?" and the location of Jupiter, the Great Benefactor, in section 2 article 4. I recommend and encourage you to read all these articles in order (after all, they follow the chronological order of our creation) so that you get the whole picture of really why are we here
Section 1, our star the Sun, without it nothing will be possible
- The Primeval Atom
- The grapefruit fluctuations at quantum level
- The inflation period
- Floating in the magic of hydrogen
- The Helios nebula
Section 2, the perfect position of planet Earth in the Universe, and the chain of random accidents that caused your existence
- The kiss of planet Theia
- Diving into the origins of Water
- The spark of Life
- Jupiter, the Great Benefactor
- In the wrong side of the Congo
Section 3, the abstract of your thoughts and the illusion of control
- Ancient Civilizations, our roots
- Language and Mathematics, the building blocks of humankind
- Religion and believes, the intangible reality
- Our brains, the biggest mystery
4. Jupiter, the Great Benefactor
Let's stop for a minute and take a look at where we are now. Yes, we are indeed here, but why are we here? Jupiter, the Great Benefactor, has got something to say about Life existence in our planet. Life has now taken a stronghold in our planet and it seems nothing can remove it, it has been really persistent and stubborn, certainly determined, surviving to all disasters that the random breathing of the Universe and its events has put on its path, from meteorites strikes from above to massive volcanic eruptions from below, and many other disasters in between. And yet, Life survives, on this planet, our planet, inside you. But what about the other goodies in the Solar System? Were any of the other planets or moons able to host Life at some point in their history? Are they maybe cherishing Life right now as we speak? In this chapter we'll explore what was happening to Jupiter and other planets in the Solar System while Life was playing cat & mouse with Extinction on the surface of our planet
Jupiter is consider in Astrology the Great Benefactor, and indeed it is for our planet... kind of... Jupiter, due to its immense gravity pull, shield the inner rocky planets from incoming asteroid and comets, acting literally as a defender and protector of Life. That fact was proved in 1994 when comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into Jupiter; that comet was approximately the same size of the comet that wiped the dinosaurs. Had Jupiter not been there to grab the comet into collision course with itself, Shoemaker-Levy 9 would have entered the inner Solar System and, who knows? It may as well smashed the Earth. But Jupiter also has the opposite effect, and it can potentially send lethal objects towards the inner solar system, and Science believed it was Jupiter gigantic magnetic influence the root cause of the Late Heavy Bombardment event....but I personally don’t think so. Let's investigate about that in a bit. If we were to compact the last 4.5 billion years of history of our planet into 24 hours, together with some of the events that were happening in the Solar System during those 4.5 billion years of time, the list will be more or less as below:
- 00:09 = Theias' impact creates the Moon, was Theia plunged to the Earth by Jupiter's gravity?
- 00:12 = LHB starts, was Jupiter the driving force of the Late Heavy Bombardment?
- 03:00 = LBH stops, was Jupiter also involved in the stop of this event?
- 04:30 = First building blocks of Life
- 05:36 = Oldest fossils of single organism
- 08:00 = Shallow seas with single bacteria
- 08:12 = Oxygen was present in the oceans
- 10:41 = Oxygen starts to build up in the atmosphere by the photosynthesis process created by bacteria
- 11:00 = Great Oxygenation Event (GOE) takes place, and the planet rusts
- 13:00 = Snowball Earth 1
- 14:10 = Single cell algae detected
- 18:08 = Sex invented as a means of reproduction instead of cloning, jolly good!
- 18:30 = Multi-cellular Life appeared
- 20:27 = Snowball Earth 2
- 20:30 = First sea plants
- 20:35 = After 25 million years, volcanos start melting Snowball Earth (Yellowstone in action?). The reversion, the warm up of the planet, took around 1 million years
- 21:00 = Excess of Oxygen creates the Ozone Layer, and the surface of the planet is protected against lethal radiation from the sun
- 21:09 = First multicellular organisms, Cambrian explosion
- 21:22 = First fish
- 21:30 = First plants in land
- 21:40 = First insets
- 22:20 = First reptiles
- 22:40 = Siberian traps, Permian extinction
- 22:50 = First dinosaurs
- 23:37 = First mammals
- 23:38 = Asteroid impact, did Jupiter contribute to send this asteroid towards Earth?
- 23:40 = First primates
- 23:56 = First species of hominids
- 23:58 = First humans
- 23:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:59:58 = First iPhone
As you can see, the above table is absolutely fascinating for two main reasons: 1) not only it gives you a time frame of events that we can understand and easily visualise, knowing for example that complex Life (multicellular organisms) developed only 3 hours before midnight, Life indeed took a long time to evolve, especially when you consider that it emerged at 3 am in the morning and it was only from 9 pm when it got really complex, what was it doing the whole day long? From 3 am till 9 pm is like 3.3 billion years of single cell Life presence only! But the reason 2) that makes this table so interesting is that it contains the hidden message of our limited comprehension in the time scales in which the Universe moves: we understand the length of a day, we are "design" to live it, but we cannot fit in our mind the time of one million or 100 million years, yet alone 4.5 billion years, it just doesn't make sense to us, nobody lives 1 million years or more, no matter how healthy your breakfast is. We comprehend and grasp in our mind the length of a day because our consciousness has experience it in the physical entity that we live on. To answer the question of why are we here, does our consciousness needs to expand into other entities able to experience the passing of such great amount of time such as 4.5 billion years that the Universe is "design" to experience? I'm getting ahead of myself, I guess these are questions for the "Conclusion" section of this article
Let's start and see if we can shed some light in the mystery of our Sun... why does our Sun has an 11 years cycle? Every 11 years, the Sun's magnetic field rotates and flip itself over, the North Pole becomes the South Pole and vice-versa. If you plot this into a chart it becomes a butterfly diagram. Why does it happen every 11 years and not 25? When the flips occurs the Sun reaches its maximum corona activity, what is called in Astronomy Solar Maximum; or perhaps is the opposite: because it has reached its maximum corona activity, the poles flip. In any case, prior to the flips the surface of the Sun is increasingly dotted with sunspots or solar spots, cause by alterations and twists of the magnetic field at the surface level of the sun. Astronomers have been counting the sunspots since 1749, to determine when the Solar Maximum occurs, and hence when the North-South pole flip, and have come out with this pattern of the 11-year Sun Cycle: https://www.spaceweatherlive.com/en/solar-activity/solar-cycle/historical-solar-cycles.html The formation of sun spots during solar maximum do have an impact on our climate, after all, life exist on our planet because of the sun, so any minor alternation in its radiation will affect us
Does the specific Sun's rotation has an influence on its 11 year cycle? Credit: Solar Rotation varies by Latitude
Astronomers have detected sunspots in other stars too, so this is not only a phenomenon that happens on our sun. When we consider that the Sun, our private stellar nuclear reactor, is a gigantic ball of gas that rotates at different speeds, with the equator rotating on itself every 25 days approximately (24.5) while nearer the poles the rotation happens every 35 days, we can come out with the following interesting calculations:
- The equator rotates 0.7142 times faster than the poles (25 days at the equator / 35 days at the poles = 0.7142)
- Every 160 times that the equator rotates, the magnetic poles flip (365 days / 25 days a rotation = 14.6 rotations a year, multiply that for 11 = 160.6 rotations)
- Every 114 times that the poles rotates, the magnetic poles flip (365 days / 35 days a rotation = 10.4 rotations a year, multiply that for 11 = 114.4 rotations)
- The relation between the number of rotations at the poles (114.4) and the equator (160.6) is 0.7123
Could the size of our sun be related to its 11 years cycle? During its lifetime, and before its nucleus run out of hydrogen to fusion into helium, and therefore collapsing, the sun will have lost only 0.05% of its mass, so it pretty must have had this 11 year cycle right from its birth time. Could this cycle be related to the fact that our sun supports Life in one if its solar system planets so well? Our Solar System seems to be intrinsically connected in a very harmonious way, and yet we know for sure that its beginning were very chaotic, a place full of collisions and destructions, so how it is possible that such harmonious order was rendered after the initial shambolic start?
Before we start doing a walk by our neighbouring planets, here is a thought about the position of planet Earth and its unique advantage of harvesting creatures able to formulate the question why are we here: of all of the immensity of the Cosmos, we can see with the naked eye craters in the Moon…. isn’t that weird? That we have a satellite, locked on one face towards us forever, so close by that it ignites our curiosity, and give us a visual hint in its surface and on our flesh of how the whole Universe is, a place of transformation full of violence raining from the sky. And what a strange, peculiar and outstanding ‘coincidence’ that is, that right now on our epoch (epoch where we can challenge the journey of why are we here) the diameter of our Moon and its distance from us matches by 400 times the diameter of the Sun and its distance from planet Earth, meaning that both spheres (the Moon and the Sun) appear to be exactly the same, giving us the spectacular and occasional events of Total Eclipses that since dawn of time have fascinated human civilisations
And we keep on scanning the Cosmos obsessed with finding exoplanets like our Earth, able to support Life, with promising data coming from solar systems like that of the Trappist-1 star (40 light years from us), and yet the majority of exoplanets we find are massive ‘hot Jupiter’ or super-Earth size planets which intense gravity at the surface makes the composition of molecules a challenge to host life, and that goes without saying that, at such high gravity, the core of super-Earth planets will be rock solid instead of liquid like ours, and therefore those planets cannot generate a magnetic field that will protect the surface from deadly nuclear fusion radiation, a surface crushed by its own atmosphere. And so we keep looking in the far reaches of space for a planet like ours, for a why are we here answer…and yet…right on our front door we have our twin sister, Venus, surprisingly the same size as Earth and also in the habitable zone (or it was 1 billion years ago when the sun was cooler)… and it just happens to be the least hospitable planet in the whole solar system to host life, our twin sister, Venus. How does it render our Earth, its extraordinary incredibly uniqueness, when the closest planet that we know of able to support Life is just next to us, and it happens to be a hell, literally?
Mercury rotates the Sun in a very unique way. It is tidally locked in a surprising 3:2 Orbital Resonance, meaning that for every 3 spins Mercury does around the Sun, it rotates around itself twice. Most of the data we know from Mercury is thanks to the Messenger probe that NASA sent to it in 2004 and arrived to the planet... 7 years after…..due to its proximity to the sun, its small size and great speed of rotation, Mercury is the hardest planet to get into. Yet, its surface is absolutely obliterated by craters, meaning that many asteroids and comets did not have any problems in hitting it, which makes you wonder….do all those craters in Mercury formed when the planet was in its current orbit, so close to the Sun that it makes it an extremely difficult target to hit?
Another hint to its past violence lies in its composition: Mercury has an iron core that makes 85% of the planet, way too big for a body of such a small size. Where is the rocky crust that is supposed to cover this planet? Scientistic argue that, most likely, Mercury was also subject to a planetary collision with another planet or object (let's called Maia, the Greek mother of Mercury). An hypothetical collision of Mercury with Maia, may explain why the surface of Mercury have elements that just could not exist had Mercury formed where it is now, so close to the sun those elements would have evaporated during their formation, and there they are. A collision with Maia would have ripped out the rocky crust of Mercury, leaving it as the ball of iron that it is now, and pushing it towards the inner solar system where Mercury is now.
During a year in Mercury one side faces the Sun once while the other side faces twice. One day is Mercury is really strange, if you happens to be on a spot in Mercury, it will take you 2 Mercury years (176 days) for the Sun to go around the sky once. Mercury rotation speed to itself is constant but the planet speeds up when it is at perihelion the closest to the Sun. There was no chance of oceans ever forming in Mercury, it just doesn't have the gravitational pull to keep the water in, besides given its surface temperature of 400 degrees all will be but vaporised instantly. In spite of its small size, Mercury has a fair pull of gravity (due to its iron core) that allows it to have an exosphere which contains oxygen... hello? Where did that oxygen came from? Impact with asteroids?
Venus is always referred to as the "twin-planet" of Earth due to its similar size and proximity to the Sun....but is an evil twin. Not Venus fault, of course, something really wrong happened to it when it was first formed, for it to become the hellish planet it is now instead of a potential candidate of harvesting life. By far, Venus is the hardest rocky planet to land a spacecraft into, and since the Soviet's Venera spacecraft, no other man-made object has successfully landed in Venus. Most of the spacecraft were crashed in the atmosphere as they were descending, long before reaching the super-hot ground at an average temperature of 470 degrees Celsius....and rising by the millennia. Due to the huge amount of clouds in Venus and its composition, at the surface of Venus is like being under one kilometre below sea level. Furthermore, in Venus the rain is made of sulphuric acid, corroding and deforming everything it falls into. Non living thing known in planet Earth can live on Venus's surface, not at such pressure, heat and corrosive atmosphere.
Venus and Earth's orbits align in pair of 8 years but then don't happened again for over 100 years, so last time Venus transited the Sun were in 2004 and in 2012 but next time it will happens will be on 10 December 2117. Can we terraform Venus? The Sun gets hotter about 10% every billion years, if the extra heat produced by the Sun doomed Venus a couple of billion years ago, are we approaching the fate that Venus had quite soon?
This video, like many of those ones in you tube infected with the media-hype type of scaremongering-cataclysm-coming-right-now-to-you effect, shows what might have actually happened to Venus, 2 billion years ago, when the heat generated by the Sun heated the planet, with together with volcanism might have contributed to the development of a thick atmosphere, and the evaporation of its oceans. If Venus was hit by that planet that slowed its rotation... where is the Moon that it should have? maybe the planet was a tiny one? and it was absorbed by Venus without a chance of it creating a Moon?
What this what happened to Venus?
Mars is red because it is rusted... wait? Rusted? I thought you only get rust when something is exposed to Oxygen! That's right, it seems Mars has experienced an Oxygenation Event just like that one on Earth a couple of billion years ago, when our planet rusted to the excess of Oxygen generated by cyanobacteria (cyanobacteria are those capable of photosynthesis). The atmosphere of Mars shows a thin green glow, latest observed by the ExoMars spacecraft, indicating the presence of oxygen in the Martian cover of thin clouds, the smoking gun of a Mars Oxygenation Event. For the planet to get rusted, some sort of life must have been present in Mars to produce the oxygen needed for the rust process to occur
The winter in Mars is minus 125 degrees Celsius, therefore no spacecraft can survive on the surface without power to heat itself up. In Mars walking from the South pole to the North is downhill, as the North pole is several kilometres below the elevation of the South pole
This image below is a theorise vision of how Mars would have look liked in the past... and it may actually be very accurate. The Mars rovers, as well as the satellites orbiting the red planet, keep finding evidences of that liquid water must have flown and existed on the surface of Mars long time ago. Where did it go? Taken into account the small size of Mars, it could be that its core cooled quickly (also, it didn't have a 'Theia collision' on day 1 of its life, causing the core to heat up like it happened in planet Earth), so once the core started to cool, the magnetic field that protected the atmosphere weaken, and the solar wind become to erode the atmosphere of planet Mars, peeling the molecules of water and busting them into the vacuum of space. How much percentage of Mars atmosphere is been lost every due to the abrasion effect of the solar wind? If we knew that number we could estimate the amount of water that covered its surface once in a distant past. In spite of the appearance of planet Mars being a geologically dead planet, there is still activity on its core, the now frozen spacecraft Insight detected plenty of Mars-Quakes during its brief time in Mars
Earth GOE killed 99% of life in planet Earth, a Mars Oxygenation Event could very well had killed all life in the now red planet
Jupiter, the great benefactor
Back in the past, when Jupiter and Saturn felt into orbital resonance, they pushed Neptune out of its orbit, farther beyond Uranus, but how did that happen? And the Moons or Uranus, are they the product of the collision that title the axis of the planet? And from where that massive body that impacted Uranus came from? Metallic Hydrogen is the key to generate the magnetosphere of Jupiter
The Jovian Solar System: why Jupiter at all? What is the habitable zone in Jupiter? Why IO is so hot while Europa is dead frozen?
Titan is is like Earth at the beginning frozen in time; Titan contains liquid lakes of "gasoline" that might have formed by underground explosions, what causes these explosions? Why hydrocarbons are in Titan? This is yet another fascinating moon
The Universe is hostile by nature. The bigger the planet the thinner the atmosphere, as the gravity is pinning it down to the ground, compacting the gases. No matter how advance or intelligent life reached to be, matter cannot be consciously transformed to light and therefore any civilisation will never advance a handful of light years away from their parent star, before they fade away. We are and we will be alone
Greek Mythology is intriguing in all aspects, since antiquity it has categorise and add names, attributes and history to the planets, labelled them as Gods with tempestuous relationships among one another, and each one of them with a unique history to to tell. For example, ancient Greeks called Mars the planet of war, their God Ares had a scar on his face across his right eyes, product of the battles.....was that scar the deep Valles Marineris that run across half of Mars that the ancient Greek interpreted as a scar? Did they had telescopes to see that Valles on detail back on their time? Another clear example is Zeus, the God of Lighting, represented by Jupiter, and now Astronomers know that Jupiter is the fastest rotating planet on our solar system, in spite of being the biggest, meaning that its atmosphere is charge to such a extend that the thunderstorms on its cloudy surface are so violent that they can clearly be seen from space...did ancient Greek saw flushes in Jupiter's atmosphere and make them call Jupiter the God of Lighting?
And finally we got Saturn, the God Kronos, to whom the ancient Greek claim he ate his children....and so he did. Astronomers now believe (and note that for Science "believe" is not a matter of faith but a proven scientific data) that the rings of Saturn were formed as the giant planet destroyed...ate...one of its Moons, called Chrysalis, between 100 and 200 million years ago. So weird that ancient Greek seems to be getting their mythology always right
Timeline of the Solar System
- A star pass by and move Jupiter out?
- Inner planetary collision occurs?
- Explosions may have formed lakes on Saturn's moon Titan http://www.astronomy.com/
- Venus: the hot, hellish & volcanic planet https://www.space.com/
- Mercury Impact Craters https://www.britannica.com/
- NASA's photo shows Mars' Grand Canyon in spectacular detail https://mymodernmet.com/
- Was Venus ever habitable? https://earthsky.org/
- Was Venus alive? The signs are probably there https://www.space.com/
- Nasa climate modelling suggests Venus may have been habitable https://climate.nasa.gov/
- Does IO have a magma ocean? https://eos.org/
- Sunspots https://scied.ucar.edu/
- Relationship of the Kuiper Belt to the Oort Cloud https://esahubble.org/
- The Grand Tack www.boulder.swri.edu
- The Solar Eclipse Coincidence blogs.scientificamerican.com
- Ask an Astronomer curious.astro.cornell.edu
- Violent thunderstorms on Jupiter may form "mushballs" that fall from the sky https://www.space.com/
- Violent death of moon Chrysalis may have created Saturn's rings https://www.france24.com/
- How Saturn’s lost moon Chrysalis became its rings https://earthsky.org/
- NASA spacecraft records epic 'marsquakes' as it prepares to die https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-03447-4