318 Times as Massive as Earth
- by Anton Skorucak and ScienceIQ.com
What is 318 times more massive than Earth? Jupiter, the fifth planet from the Sun (next in line after Earth and Mars). Jupiter is the largest planet in our Solar System. If you decided to take a Boeing 777 for a trip around Jupiter, it would take you over 21 days just to circle once around its equator and that is without the refueling stops. However, if you ride with one of Jupiter's violent wind streams, which can blow as fast as 600 kph (372 mph), your trip can be as short as 13 days (it is still quite a trip!). If you ever do take an airplane for a trip around Jupiter, make sure to aviod the Great Red Spot (lower right corner of the image). The Great Red Spot is actually a tornado so big that it could hold two Earths and which has been active for at least last 300 years!
Jupiter got its name from the Roman God: Jupiter Optimus Maximus (all-good, all-powerful, the God of the Gods – Zeus is the Greek equivalent). Jupiter is mostly gas, about 90% Hydrogen and 10% Helium, with some traces of methane, ammonia, water and rock. Its core is most likely solid rock, covered with a layer of liquid metallic hydrogen. Because the pressure close to the core is so great, hydrogen becomes liquid. Not only that, its protons and electrons get ionized – they start existing individually in this liquid (as opposed to being grouped into atoms). This hydrogen 'soup' is actually a conductor – that's why it is called metallic. Jupiter has 28 known moons, most of which are named after Zeus's lovers (Ganymede, Io, Europa, etc.)