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Particles, environments, and possible ecologies in the Jovian atmosphere
Sagan, C.; Salpeter, E. E.
AA(Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.), AB(Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.)
Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, vol. 32, Dec. 1976, p. 737-755. (ApJS Homepage)
Publication Date:
Lunar and Planetary Exploration
NASA/STI Keywords:
Atmospheric Chemistry, Ecology, Exobiology, Extraterrestrial Life, Jupiter Atmosphere, Planetary Environments, Ammonia, Atmospheric Circulation, Clouds (Meteorology), Mesosphere, Photolysis, Radiative Transfer, Troposphere, Vortices
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The possible existence of indigenous Jovian organisms is investigated by characterizing the relevant physical environment of Jupiter, discussing the chromophores responsible for the observed coloration of the planet, and analyzing some permissible ecological niches of hypothetical organisms. Values of the eddy diffusion coefficent are estimated separately for the convective troposphere and the more stable mesosphere, and equilibrium condensation is studied for compounds containing Na, Cl, or both. The photoproduction of chromophores and nonequilibrium organic molecules is analyzed, and the motion of hypothetical organisms is examined along with the diffusion of metabolites and the consequent growth of organisms. Four kinds of organisms are considered: primary photosynthetic autotrophs ('sinkers'), larger autotrophs or heterotrophs that actively maintain their pressure level ('floaters'), organisms that seek out others ('hunters'), and organisms that live at almost pyrolytic depths ('scavengers'). It is concluded that ecological niches for sinkers, floaters, and hunters appear to exist in the Jovian atmosphere.

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arXiv e-prints