New data from NASA’s Juno probe determined this new theory about Jupiter.
The giant Jupiter may be made up of different “baby planets” from the original solar system.
A new study published in Astronomy & Astrophysics , using data from NASA ‘s Juno spacecraft , notes that Jupiter is full of “heavy metal” elements, indicating that it devoured numerous “planetesimals,” or baby planets, in the distant past.
Thanks to the data found with the spacecraft, scientists built computer models to recreate what Jupiter looks like under all that gas.
They hypothesized that the planet’s gaseous mix became so by gobbling up and absorbing both helium and gas left over from the Sun’s birth, as well as, in large part, various nascent planets that presumably used to be part of our star system.
Jupiter was not only “one of the first planets to form in our solar system” but also “the most influential planet in the formation of the solar system,” Yamila Miguel, a Dutch astrophysicist who led the research.
Planetesimals could have adhered to the core of Jupiter , even after the gas-accumulation phase began; that’s because the gravitational pull on the rocks would have been greater than the pressure exerted by the gas. This simultaneous accumulation of rocky material and gas proposed by the planetesimal theory is the only explanation for the high levels of heavy elements within Jupiter , the researchers said.
This research, as the report points out, may also help pave the way for similar theories about the formation of Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.