Is Jupiter Eating Its Own Heart?
Astronomers call Jupiter a gas giant because it consists mostly of hydrogen and helium, which are gases on Earth. On Jupiter, however, enormous pressure from the planet's gravity squeezes most of the hydrogen into a metallic fluid that conducts electricity. The hydrogen and helium surround a central core made of iron, rock, and ice. The core, which weighs roughly 10 times as much as Earth, is a small component in a planet that weighs 318 Earths.
Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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