Part of Jupiter habitable (with oxygen masks)?

I read somewhere, and I can’t recall where, that if you went down far enough into Jupiter’s atmosphere you would reach a point where the temperature and atmospheric pressure were comfortable for humans. If you had some kind of platform hovering there (perhaps suspended from a heated hydrogen balloon) you could sit out in the open comfortably with an oxygen mask.

This seems like an interesting idea, but the thing is I can’t recall where I heard this and whether this is actually true with modern knowledge of Jupiter. I know that there would of course have to be a point where the temperature was comfortable for humans, but would the pressure at that layer be comfortable too? Is the atmosphere still transparent at this point, or are we talking down where the clouds are thick? Might there be dangers having skin exposed to Jupiter’s atmosphere under that pressure?

It can’t be done. According to this data from the Galileo probe dropped into the Jovian atmosphere:

the temperature at the region of 1 atmosphere is -225F. You’d freeze solid in seconds. You might be able to survive into the deeper region of 0 degrees if you can endure 5 times earth’s atmospheric pressure.

That chart makes it difficult to figure out what the pressure would be at a livable temperature - they are using Fahrenheit (?!?) and some kind of geometric progression with the pressure - all I can tell is that at room temperature it would be more than 5 bars and less than 20, looks like it might be closer to 5 than 20, I think that would be livable as you wouldn’t be breathing air under that kind of pressure, just whatever gas mix was in your tank (at higher pressures they would probably go with 98% He 2% O.

I poked around the web and it appears the world record for underwater diving 925 feet. I bet he only stayed there for a few seconds, and spent days in decompression.
You know, what we need here is someone with expertise in deep water diving. I’m skeptical that you could live long-term at the 5 bar Jovian atmospheric pressures, but I’m open to someone’s expert analysis.

IIRC, 5 atmospheres is reached at about 132 feet under water. (33 feet of water per atmosphere, plus the 1 atm from the air.)

I would think that the issue would be gravity rather than pressure.
As Johhny LA said, the 5 BAR is equivilent to a depth routinely dived and the point would be moot anyway since you would be in a pressure suit and be breathing air at 1 BAR.
The gravity of Jupiter is many times greater than Earths (I don’t recall the number)and I suspect would do you in very quickly.

the gravity at the top of jupiter’s clouds is 2.34 times that on earth. that would be uncomfortable enough. at a depth sufficient to attain a tolerable temperature, the gravity would be substantially stronger. add in winds up to 400 mph and gigantic lightening bolts thousands of times larger than ones on earth, and you’ve got yourself a pretty intolerable environment.


and let’s not forget the intense radiation (no, not nuclear) and magnetic fields

Or the fact that Jupiter really has no surface…you’d just keep falling, and falling, and falling…


Considering that the heavy probe was crushed to the size of a baseball during its descent, I don’t think anyone’s going to have much fun in that neighborhood.

Now Titan on the other hand is a red hot candidate for a destination. If we are able to find water there, it could become the solar system’s first extraterrestrial gas station.

Did the Galileo probe send back any high quality photos of Jovian lightning bolts? How transparent was the atmosphere? did they see any floating life (jellyfish-type gas bags?).


i’m sure if they found jellyfish-life on jupiter, we would have heard about it by now.


Gravity would not increase as you went deeper into the Jovian atmosphere - you would have less mass below you and more above you.

If 5 bars is what a diver would be under at app. 40 meters under the ocean’s surface, you could take a lot more. People have spent extended times FAR deeper. True, it takes a bit of time to get used to and a LOT longer to decompress and return to our normal atmospheric pressure, but it’s definitely possible.

NO, this is not what I am proposing. The proposed human would not be in a pressure suit, they would simply have an apparatus to provide a breathable gas mix, at these pressures probably heliox. I am talking about a platform suspended in mid-air (yes, I know that Jupiter does not have a solid surface - well, it does, but buried under thousands of miles of superheated liquids under high presure), with a portion out in the open where a person could sit naked with a gas mask on.

From what I am seeing here, it looks possible as far as pressure and temperature are concerned. Winds would not be an issue since the platform would be free-floating and moving with the wind. The only potential problems I see are the possible toxicity of the Jovian atmosphere under that pressure.

Yes it would. Any decrease in gravity because of the gas surrounding you and above you would be offset by the fact you’re closer to the liquid (solid?) core of the planet.

Are you sure about that? I read somewhere that if you could somehow dig a tunnel through the Earth, the gravity would decrease because of that reason as you got closer to the center, reaching 0 at the exact center.

Anyway, you would not have to go far into Jupiter to reach that 5-20 bar region, compared to the actual size.

Yes, that’s correct. If you were in/on/near a spherical planet, only the mass “below” you (i.e. closer to the center of the planet than you are) contributes to gravity; the stuff “above” you surrounds you from all directions and cancel out. (Yes, the stuff on the far side is farther, but there is proportionally more stuff per square degree so it cancels out perfectly.) If you were at the bottom of a 3000-meter hole in the earth, you’d be 3000 meters from the center of the earth, so the gravity is the same as on the surface of a 3000-meter diameter planet. At the center, of course, there is nothing below you and you feel no gravity.

So how fast does the gravity decrease? Gravity is of course M/R[sup]2[/sup]. Mass of a sphere is 4/3piR[sup]3[/sup]d where d is density. Assuming density is constant, gravity at the surface of a spherical planet is 4/3pidR, or proportional to radius. So as you go deeper, gravity will decrease linearly.

This of course is negligible in the OP situation, since you don’t have to go very deep to find the room-temperature layer.

This Galileio probe mission just parachuted into the atmosphere, it’s a one way trip down. I suspect any venture into the Jovian atmosphere is a suicide mission.
I saw some scheme someone proposed to float balloon platforms in the upper atmosphere of jupiter. I think they meant it for long term “weather satellite” missions inside the upper atmosphere. Of course, in those conditions, “long term” could mean you were able to stretch a few more minutes out of a sensor probe. But I don’t see why you couldn’t put up a helium balloon and suspend a gondola down into the deeper regions where temps were “moderate.” But it would have to be a hell of a balloon to survive in Jupiter’s atmosphere. And a helium balloon isn’t much lighter than the atmosphere, which has a lot of helium, so it would have to be a pretty big.

I don’t think the atmosphere is particularly turbulent - any balloon material that works on earth would probably work there as well. However, the atmosphere is mostly hydrogen, which is lighter than pure helium. The only balloon that would work in Jupiter is a hot-hydrogen balloon. Though of course there is no danger of the hydrogen exploding, since there is no oxygen.