Can we ignite Jupiter?

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Summary:

Given. The Earth has too many nukes. Jupiter is too small to self ignite as a brown dwarf. Jupiter currently emits more energy than received from the Sun.
Act. Throw nuclear weapons into Jupiter and a brown dwarf will thaw its satellites.
Jupiter has large cold satellites, which could be Earthlike. Earth emits more energy than from the Sun from radioactive elements still decaying in the Earth's core. Jupiter also generates energy, perhaps low level thermonuclear activity. Jupiter has a magnetic field like the Sun does. Jupiter's internal pressure is near D+D reaction start. That bodes well for reaction continuing after triggering. Another Sun in the sky. Yes, the ignition of Jupiter was shown in the movie "2001" but I haven't heard any recent thoughts about that.
 
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Jupiter currently emits more energy than received from the Sun.
Residual heat from formation and the release of gravitational potential energy, with a bit of energy from radioactive decays. No fusion, no relevant fission either. Nothing to "ignite" either. Below ~13 Jupiter masses you don't get a brown dwarf, no matter what you do.

Science fiction movies are not science.
 
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  • #3
sophiecentaur
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Below ~13 Jupiter masses you don't get a brown dwarf, no matter what you do.
Yes. Even a barrowload of 'nukes' is insignificant in planetary terms. Their effect would just be absorbed as a minuscule increase in temperature.
 
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russ_watters
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Yes. Even a barrowload of 'nukes' is insignificant in planetary terms. Their effect would just be absorbed as a minuscule increase in temperature.
And we already got to watch that:
...21 distinct impacts were observed, with the largest coming on July 18 at 07:33 UTC when fragment G struck Jupiter. This impact created a giant dark spot over 12,000 km (7,500 mi) across, and was estimated to have released an energy equivalent to 6,000,000 megatons of TNT (600 times the world's nuclear arsenal).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comet_Shoemaker–Levy_9
 
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nasu
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And why would we want to do that anyway? People worry about the effects of a few degrees increase in temperature and you want another sun in the solar system?
 
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A low-mass brown dwarf will have a luminosity of something like 0.2% the solar luminosity, we lose another factor 25 from the distance if this object replaces Jupiter, so let's call this 0.01% for the radiation that reaches Earth. The impact on Earth's surface temperature will be very small.
 
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And why would we want to do that anyway? People worry about the effects of a few degrees increase in temperature and you want another sun in the solar system?
It's not warm enough for him! :oldbiggrin:
 

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