Written and Illustrated by Catherine Liu
The Giant Planet
So far scientists have found out that Jupiter has sixteen moons, and there may be more. The first four moons that are closest to Jupiter are small, however, the next four moons are very large. One of the large moons is named Lo. Lo is very interesting because it has active volcanoes all over it. Europa, another one of Jupiter’s moons, is a little bit smaller than Earth’s moon. Its surface is made of water and ice 3 miles thick. Europa has some dark lines. Those lines are just cracks where water pushed to the surface. Did you know that beneath Europa’s surface may be oceans that are more than 30 miles deep? Jupiter’s largest moon, also the largest moon in the solar system, is Ganymede. Did you know that Ganymede is even larger than Mercury? Ganymede’s surface is covered mostly with rock and ice. Callisto, the farthest moon from Jupiter, is also surrounded by ice and rock. However, it has way more craters and holes.
In 1994, a giant comet started to approach Jupiter. This comet was named Shoemaker Levy 9. As it went closer to Jupiter, it broke into about 20 pieces. After it broke apart, it crashed into Jupiter and sent huge fountains of gases into space. If you look at the bottom of Jupiter, you can see little brown spots. Those spots are the marks of the comets that crashed into Jupiter. When the comets crashed into Jupiter, scientists were able to watch the event because the Hubble Space Telescope photographed it.