NASA has revealed several mysteries surrounding the stunning Great Red Spot on Jupiter planet in terms of how long it has been in existence and what fuels it. The team of scientists from NASA sent the Juno spacecraft last week to skim about 2,200 miles on top of the giant’s spot clouds. At the moment, the spacecraft has been streaming back the data and images back to the Earth, where NASA scientists are processing it for better interpretation.
The probe was the first of its kind any Earthly object has ever come to the greatest storm on the planet. The spacecraft successfully managed to cut across the storm without developing any scratch. According to NASA, the process of analyzing the data may take several months before the final report is developed. Also, the scientists believe that the probe is just the beginning as more missions will be sent for further studies in the near future.
One mystery about the storm is that for many years, the red spot has been shrinking in size. Scientists have been monitoring the changes on the spot including the probe sent by Hubble spacecraft to track the surroundings of the planet. However, the shrinking has not been constant, the spot shrank drastically between 2012 and 2014 but afterward, it stabilized. Scientists are yet to find out whether the spot is a permanent fixture of the planet or it will shrink up in the future.
Based on the findings from various studies, there is a possibility that the giant spot could be fuelled by the tiny storm huddles, eddies, and vortices, which contribute the additional energy and angular force to sustain the swirling effect of the storm but the theory is not proved yet.
There is also a mixture of gases and clouds emanating from the interiors of the spot that proposes that there could be some prevailing upsurge in the central part of the storm which transports heat up to maintain the storm.
It’s still not defined how the spot creates the red coloration. But the color keeps on changing from red to orange, pink, and brown. The colors could be related to the sun rays that break down the chemical bonds up in the storm.