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Thread: could we burn gas planets?

  1. #1 could we burn gas planets? 
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    what if we would enclose e.g. jupiter and fill it with oxygen and then drop a match, would it go on fire?


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    Jupiter is about 89% hydrogen, so it inflammable. I don't think a single match would ignite it, due to the 100 m/s winds. All of the heat in the match would be quickly dispersed.


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  4. #3  
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    so gas planets consisting of 100% gas will burn if oxygen is available and do not have winds?
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  5. #4  
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    With the right gas mixture.

    But it's quite unlikely we'll find that right mixture, because of the gas giants we've looked at are already being struck by "matches" tens of thousands of degree--there is lots of lightning.

    Here are some pictures from the Cassini mission of incredibly powerful lightning strokes on Saturn (which I think has been the most exciting mission ever done by humans)

    Saturn lightning superbolts revealed - Technology & science - Space - Space.com - msnbc.com
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  6. #5  
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    Years ago I read a SciFi novel that had colonists on a moon of a gas giant. The moon had a methane atmosphere and the humans had jet aircraft "fueled" with a tank of Oxygen. That was a workable idea.

    The idea of burning Jupiter "in situ" however is not workable. But it is not workable because of the engineering impossiblity of enclosing Jupiter and finding enough Oxygen to burn its atmospher. An Oxygen fueled jet would probably work in its atmosphere, however. An unmanned probe could use this technology.
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  7. #6  
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    In 2003 the plutonium-fueled Galileo probe descended into Jupiter. A temporary black spot appearing one month later has been speculated to originate from deep fission or fusion reaction, as the plutonium reached critical pressure. If true, then probably nothing we do to Jupiter can set it alight.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    In 2003 the plutonium-fueled Galileo probe descended into Jupiter. A temporary black spot appearing one month later has been speculated to originate from deep fission or fusion reaction, as the plutonium reached critical pressure. If true, then probably nothing we do to Jupiter can set it alight.
    Whoever speculated that was an idiot. The electrical power for the Galileo was provided by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator which works by radioactive decay, not fission or fusion. Where did you hear there was a black spot?

    Oh, okay. Now, I see it was Richard Hoagland.

    Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions: Coast to Coast Am
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  9. #8  
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    Most of Plait's refutation is irrelevant bluster but I think he's right on one point: that the plutonium wouldn't have the necessary 10 kilograms critical mass because the separate fuel packets would fly apart during entry. Jupiter's got plenty of pressure but that won't cause wildly dispersed ingots of plutonium to drift together and form a ball.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    Most of Plait's refutation is irrelevant bluster but I think he's right on one point: that the plutonium wouldn't have the necessary 10 kilograms critical mass because the separate fuel packets would fly apart during entry. Jupiter's got plenty of pressure but that won't cause wildly dispersed ingots of plutonium to drift together and form a ball.
    You misunderstand. Plutonium 238 is not a fissile isotope. You could have a ton of the stuff. No fission.
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  11. #10  
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    Okay, but your link states 10 kg plutonium 238 will support a runaway chain reaction. Got any more misunderstandings you'd like to share?
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  12. #11  
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    even number isotopes are not fissile-the end
    besides that lighting jupiter is a dumb ass concept
    try applying your brain to something useful
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    Okay, but your link states 10 kg plutonium 238 will support a runaway chain reaction. Got any more misunderstandings you'd like to share?
    Please read carefully:

    "Richard Hoagland claims that the Galileo probe exploded as a nuclear bomb"

    He's a freakin' loon.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong View Post
    Most of Plait's refutation is irrelevant bluster but I think he's right on one point: that the plutonium wouldn't have the necessary 10 kilograms critical mass because the separate fuel packets would fly apart during entry. Jupiter's got plenty of pressure but that won't cause wildly dispersed ingots of plutonium to drift together and form a ball.
    I sure don't see much bluster in there. As usual, he cuts up Hoagland with ACTUAL SCIENCE FACTS and spits him out like a bad piece of gruel.
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    Slightly offtopic question: If we burn/mine or othervice destroy a planet in our solar system. Would that have any effect on the orbit of the remaining planets?
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    I don't think there's any tidal influences on Earth detectable as originating from other planets. Gravity is such a weak force and the mass of the other planets are negligible compared to the Sun. So, nope.

    Astrologers would have a field day, though.
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    Sorry that's completely wrong. Jupiter Saturn, Neptune and Uranus (and to a very small amount the other rubble planets) Tug on the sun quite a bit. In fact, the sun, like all the planets, asteroids and comets orbit around the center of mass of the solar system. Usually it is below the surface of the sun, but not always. When Jupiter and Saturn are on the same side of the sun, the barycenter is out in space above the surface, such as from 2020 to 2027.

    638px-Solar_System_Barycenter_2000-2050.jpg

    The Giant planets are also responsible for much of the changes in obliquity (tilt) of the earth's axis, which varies from abour 22 to 24 degrees...it would be more but the moon stabalizes us unlike the other planets.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Slightly offtopic question: If we burn/mine or othervice destroy a planet in our solar system. Would that have any effect on the orbit of the remaining planets?
    Even if you could "blow up" Jupiter, I doubt a significant quantity of its mass would escape its gravity well. It would expand a bit, and then contract again, leaving all that mass right where it was when you started.

    Also, if this is for science fiction, please don't make the planet blow up all at once in a second, like a lot of other sci-fi movies have done. There's a non-zero amount of time required for the fire to spread from wherever it was ignited to the other side of the planet, and planets are very big. It would be more realistic for the explosion to take like a month or something (if that's where you're going with this.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne View Post
    Sorry that's completely wrong.
    I am very happy to be corrected. Thank you for helping me expunge hamartia.
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  20. #19  
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    Isn't there something USEFUL you guys could be doing??
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wintermute View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne View Post
    Sorry that's completely wrong.
    I am very happy to be corrected. Thank you for helping me expunge hamartia.
    Cool, thanx for making me look up the word
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne View Post
    . When Jupiter and Saturn are on the same side of the sun, the barycenter is out in space above the surface, such as from 2020 to 2027.

    638px-Solar_System_Barycenter_2000-2050.jpg

    The Giant planets are also responsible for much of the changes in obliquity (tilt) of the earth's axis, which varies from abour 22 to 24 degrees...it would be more but the moon stabalizes us unlike the other planets.
    Maybe an unrelated question I should start a thread over, to ask it? But, what effects will that event be likely to have on the Earth? Would it affect the distribution of our seasons because we're spending a portion of the year closer than normal to the Sun, and another portion of the year further than normal from the Sun?

    Any chance it would do something catastrophic? It just sounds like an exceptional astronomic occurrence. Pretty cool, really. Just curious if it has any likely consequences for us.
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  23. #22  
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    Let's say Jupiter just "poofed" out of existance. It would have profound effects on the entire solar system. It would change the orbit of every planet and the sun around the barycenter. The asteroid belt of over half a million (known) asteroids would move and/or disperse, same with the Kuiper belt.
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    The Trojans would go wild.
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  25. #24  
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    Well, the Trojans were always kind of wild
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