Tue, 24 Dec 96 13:18:47 +1000 writes:
> to (transiently) stellify Jupiter by means of a nuke detonated in
> its metallic (or at least somewhere deep enough where hydrogen is
> sufficiently dense) hydrogen layer. You know, it's Christmas, and
> twinkle, twinkle. Why not?
> What would happen? Either nothing (has anybody calculated this?), or
> we'd start a fusion reaction, which would blast a considerable (yet
> negligeable in relation to the residue) amount of hot hydrogen into
> the sky, leaving the result somewhat hotter than it was before. Thusly
> we might fabricate a short-lived ersatz Sun for the Jovian satellite
> system, to better mine them (solar power is terribly thin out there).

Sounds to me like the easiest way to create a supernova, 'Gene.

As with the Sun and all the planets, Jupiter is a balance of forces,
- the pull of gravity causing a contraction of all material in Jupiter
and raising pressure and temperature to counter-balance gravity.
Jupiter hasn't yet accreted enough mass to become a star; i.e. its
mass (and gravity) is not enough to raise temperature & pressure at its
centre sufficiently to generate large scale nuclear fusion reactions.
Another billion years maybe and it may have slowly accumulated enough
extra mass to change that balance, with gradually higher temperatures
able to start and sustain fusion and cause Jupiter to expand slowly,
balancing the newly higher temperatures. In other words, Jupiter
becomes a star, and the solar system becomes (yet another) binary
star system. Note that this process is a gradual transition.

But if you nuke Jupiter (deeply enough to get in contact with highly
pressurized hydrogen), then you trigger a vast nuclear fusion reaction
and SUDDENLY change the balance of forces holding the planet together.
In short, a very big bang. The remnant Jupiter less than half size.

A hydrogen bomb on Earth terminates because it runs out of hydrogen,
(even deep under the sea, which of course contains hydrogen).
But with Jupiters' vast dense hydrogen supply, and gravity holding
it in place ready for ignition/fusion, it's just one big big BOMB.
Perhaps big enough to vaporize the other planets or at least their
surface features. Don't bother making a will. :-{

Interesting idea 'Gene. You're not a pyromaniac by any chance?? ;-)


... First there was Hiroshima '45, then Chernobyl '86, then Jupiter 2030!