Scientists Believe Jupiter Is Huge Because It Ate Other Planets
Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, with two of its satellites, Io on the left (above Jupiter's Great Red Spot) and Europa on the right, March 1979. The image was taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft.
Space Frontiers/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A new scientific study on the planet of Jupiter claims it is our solar system’s largest planet in part due to eating other planets.

A new study published in Astronomy and Astrophysics is suggesting the theory that the giant gas planet is fillet with a number of baby planets.

“Jupiter was one of the first planets to form in our solar system,” Yamila Miguel, an astrophysicist at Leiden University in the Netherlands, told Live Science. However, little is known about how it was formed.

In the new research article, images from NASA’s Juno space probe allowed the team members on the project to map out the rocky core of Jupiter. “The chemical make-up suggests Jupiter devoured baby planets, or planetesimals, to fuel its expansive growth,” according to Live Science.

Miguel also noted that Juno’s data allowed the researchers to gather the new data necessary to accurately measure Jupiter’s interior, which served as a critical aspect of the study.

“Juno provided very accurate gravity data that helped us to constrain the distribution of the material in Jupiter’s interior,” Miguel said. “It is very unique data that we can only get with a spacecraft orbiting around the planet.”

The view is among two major theories regarding how Jupiter collected its initial rocky core. One theory suggests the planet is composed of billions of smaller space rocks.

The other theory, supported in the new study, claims the planet’s core was formed by absorbing multiple “planetesimals” spanning several miles in size. The research concluded, “Our results imply that Jupiter continued to accrete heavy elements in large amounts while its hydrogen-helium envelope was growing, contrary to predictions based on the pebble-isolation mass in its simplest incarnation.”

The study hopes to provide a deeper understanding of Jupiter’s formation, as well as offer insights into how other planets beyond the red giant, such as Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, developed.

Jupiter, at about 484 million miles from the Earth, remains an intriguing point of exploration. In addition to NASA’s Juno exploration, a growing emphasis on both Mars and Jupiter has become a focus of the emerging space industry.

The research regarding Jupiter has also continued to advance as the planet has been photographed and explored. Last July, NASA selected SpaceX to study whether Jupiter’s moon Europa has conditions that could potentially support life.

According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the mission will mark the first “detailed investigations” of the large Jupiter moon.

The Daily Wire previously reported that according to SpaceX, Falcon Heavy is “the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two.” It can lift payloads of nearly 141,000 pounds into orbit.

The vehicle’s core booster and two side boosters contain a combined twenty-seven Merlin engines, which can generate more than five million pounds of thrust at takeoff.

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