back to article Galileo got it wrong – official: Jupiter actually wet, not super-dry: 'No one would have guessed that water might be so variable across the planet'

Jupiter contains more water than a previous study suggested, according to recordings from NASA's Juno probe, which were published in Nature Astronomy this month. Juno, launched in 2011, has performed several flybys of Jupiter. Its Microwave Radiometer (MWR) instrument used six antennas to measure the temperature of the planet’ …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    “No one would have guessed"

    Interesting. I know nothing about the layers under Jupiter's visible surface, but from here, it's pretty obvious that the bands of color don't mix very much. It logically follows that the contents of one band mostly stay inside that band and don't mix with neighboring bands. That would go for water as well.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: “No one would have guessed"

      Indeed, the banding on Jupiter is feature that leaps out to the casual observer. I'm sure lots of his colleagues and other planetary scientists unimpressed by that comment as lots of different sampling points are vital for getting clues to what is happening.

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: “No one would have guessed"

      Its to dusty to keep our hottubs on Mars.

    3. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      They're looking within a 4° band at the equator. I think they're talking about variations of water by depth.

  2. TrumpSlurp the Troll

    Dodgy analogy

    So aliens are investigating Earth.


    First pass skims over the Sahara at mid summer.

    Aha! Cry the boffins, hot and dry!



    Next pass some years later skims over Wales in February.

    Well, say the boffins, who would have thought that there could be such a difference?



    Why am I reminded of the three blind men and the elephant?



    Oh, and obviously more research is needed.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Dodgy analogy

      As per your example: the mixed atmosphere on Earth is due to the fact that an almost (but thankfully not completely) negligible atmosphere is circulating over a large solid body with an irregular surface partly covered in water. But how does a gas giant come to be so irregular?

      1. BOBSta
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Dodgy analogy

        "But how does a gas giant come to be so irregular?"

        's gotta be gravity related, right?

      2. Pete4000uk

        Re: Dodgy analogy

        A bad diet?

        1. Ken Shabby

          Re: Dodgy analogy

          They found the wet patch?

    2. not.known@this.address

      Re: Dodgy analogy

      Maybe they should just scan Scotland - if they aren't too quick, they'll get the entire range of terrestrial weather conditions in just a few minutes!!

      1. John Geek

        Re: Dodgy analogy

        Or California. serious desert to high sierra within a hundred miles....

    3. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

      Re: Dodgy analogy

      I am very hesitant to cast aspersions on the boffins doing this work but I sort of agree. What would said aliens have made of a scan of Chile though. Atacama = cold and _very_ dry. A bit further south towards Chiloe and the temperatures rise slightly but are much much wetter

  3. Aladdin Sane



    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Galileo?

      @Aladdin_Sane That's right - super Ali - go ballistic

    2. BOBSta

      Re: Galileo?

      No, no, no, no, nononono, no!

      1. A Nother Handle

        Re: Galileo?


  4. Sanctimonious Prick


    Eggheads, eh? And what are their names?

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Re: Eggheads

      Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb.

      1. Aussie Doc

        Re: Eggheads

        Ah you've met my legal team.

        Have one on them.

      2. tel130y

        Re: Eggheads

        I always thought it was Hugh, Pugh, Barney.....etc.

  5. Big_Boomer Silver badge


    Earth has alternating dry and wet bands. See the Deserts section on this page.

    Since the bands on Jupiter are actually visible in it's atmosphere I would expect even greater variations in atmospheric water than here on Earth.

    Sounds like someone needs to go back to school and pay attention this time.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Really?

      On Earth we can look at the distribution of land and sea in relation to the circulation of the atmosphere and see why the variation of water vapour arises from that combination. How do you see that variation arising on a gas giant from circulation alone?

      1. Big_Boomer Silver badge

        Re: Really?

        On Earth the circulation of the atmosphere is driven by evaporation of water from the surface of the oceans, but unless you look at the land, you can't always see the "bands". On Jupiter the circulation of the atmosphere is VISIBLE and so are the bands, even if the actual mechanism (fusion?, fission?, chemical?, geological?) driving it is still being argued about. I wasn't positing a mechanism for the variations in water content. I was stating that taking one set of measurements and assuming that they applied to an entire planet the size of Jupiter is full on 100% stoopid!

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Really?

          It's not so much what drives the circulation as the fact that on Earth the disparity between wet and dry parts of the atmosphere is driven by the underlying distribution of water, land and even the relief of that land which, together with the pattern of circulation, determines precipitation and hence removal of water from the atmosphere. It's easy to see a mechanism for the removal of water. In comparison such variations on a gas giant look odd. And in science the most interesting comment isn't "that's obvious"; it's "that's odd".

  6. aregross

    Glommed? The last time I heard that word was when Festus said it on Gunsmoke how many years ago.... way ahead of his time I guess!

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Sir Pterry used it as well.


      1. Alister


        1. Kane Silver badge



          troll's with sticks

          All sorts of dragons

          Mrs Cake

          Huje green things with teeth

          Any kinds of black dogs with orange eyebrows

          Rains of spaniel's


          Mrs Cake

          1. Loatesy

            Neither Deluge Nor Ice Storm Nor The Black Silence Of The Netherhells Shall Stay These Messengers About Their Sacred Business. Do Not Ask Us About Saber-Toothed Tigers, Tar Pits, Big Green Things With Teeth, Or The Goddess Czol.

            “You had big green things with teeth back then?” said Tropes.

            “Bigger. Greener. More Teeth,” rumbled Anghammarad.

            “And the Goddess Czol?” said Moist.

            “Do Not Ask.”

        2. My-Handle Silver badge

          I believe he also used it in "Men At Arms". Cuddy glommed a clockwork motor off his cousin (or something) to power Detritus' cooling helmet

          1. Alister

            Interesting that Wiktionary and Merriam-Webster claim it as American, and define it as snatching or grabbing, with a secondary definition of "sticking to".

            In British English my understanding of the word has been closer to "cadging" or "borrowing by begging", and I'm sure that is true of the passage you quote above.

  7. Spherical Cow

    It's all done with solenoid valves.

    My garden sprinklers don't all come on at once, they come on section by section. Apparently the Jupiterians use a similar irrigation technique.

    1. Geoff May (no relation)


      Shouldn't they be Jovians?

      1. DJV Silver badge

        Shouldn't they be Jovians?

        No, they're pseudo British* and therefore always pretty unhappy about the weather.

        (* I'm British so I vaguely know what I'm not talking about.)

  8. Dinsdale247

    Title is Incorrect

    The Galileo probe did not get it wrong according to your article. The scientist misinterpreted the data.

    1. Psmo

      Re: Title is Incorrect

      Pedantic, but important.

      Data is never incorrect- information gleaned and conclusions can be incorrect and often incomplete.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Title is Incorrect

        Data is never incorrect

        Not true - it can be incorrect if collcted badly or with uncalibrated instruments.

        1. D@v3

          Re: Incorrect Data

          But surely in those situations, the Data itself is still correct, just within very specific and undesired conditions.

          (yes i'm serious, sorry i called you Shirley)

          1. Psmo

            Re: Incorrect Data

            This is what I was getting at.

            However, corrupted data is possibly the exception, as the introduced errors would render any information useless.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Syn3rg


    don't wake the Hydrogues.

  11. nojobhopes

    Juipter's water is already contaminated by human waste

    NASA 'deorbited' the Galileo probe into Jupiter in 2003 at a leisurely 108,000 mph. The probe was powered by two radioisotope thermoelectric generators, each carrying 7.8 kilograms of Plutonium. Apparently NASA polluted Jupiter because they didn't want to pollute its moons. Other missions have similar legacies and risks. The Mars Science Laboratory had a 1 in 420 chance of a failure resulting in a release of plutonium dioxide in the launch area. (

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Juipter's water is already contaminated by human waste

      "7.8 kilograms of Plutonium"

      i.e. of the order of 1x10^-26 the Jovian mass.

      1. oldfartuk

        Re: Juipter's water is already contaminated by human waste

        ""7.8 kilograms of Plutonium"

        i.e. of the order of 1x10^-26 the Jovian mass."

        or the equivalent of one atom of plutonium in a litre of water.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not very good at science but

    "at the equator, water makes up about 0.25 per cent of the molecules in Jupiter's atmosphere – almost three times that of the Sun," ?

    I've never thought of our venerable star as a source of water but, hey! If there's water it means there might be life forms out there after all!

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