What would happen if a hydrogen bomb exploded on Jupiter?

Wouldn't the chain reaction spread to all the hydrogen on Jupiter? I heard that Jupiter is a failed star because it isn't massive enough to initiate stellar ignition. With a little help from humans, I'm sure this problem can be handled. Who needs mass when you have a hydrogen bomb? Simply detonate said bomb on Jupiter and enjoy a new, second sun. What could possibly go wrong?

It's possible that the immense pressure in a star is required to sustain the chain reaction. Jupiter lacks this pressure in its core, so it'll just fizzle out shortly after it starts. Yes? No?

8 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Best Answer

    Hydrogen bombs do not work by any chain reaction. They work by compressing hydrogen so strongly that nuclear fusion takes place. Only a tiny fraction of the hydrogen in the bomb actually fuses, and the energy released then causes a massive explosion that blows away the rest of the hydrogen, the rest of the bomb, and anything else within a couple of miles.

    If you dropped one on Jupiter there would be a big bang and that't it. You don't initiate fusion by dropping a bomb into a mass of hydrogen and blowing it up. All that will do is disperse the hydrogen. You need to conatain and compress it to cause fusion. If Jupiter was capable of fusing hydrogen at all it would already be doing so. Stars do it under the pressure of their own mass compressing the core so strongly that fusion can occur. They are not fusing anything in the outer regions.

    Perhaps more to the point, Jupiter is absolutely HUGE. Every single explosive device we have ever made in the whole history of mankind would barely make a dent in it, much less initiate any kind of fusion reaction. Only in sci-fi can anything as small as humanity affect something the size of a gas giant so devastatingly.

  • 9 years ago

    The comet Shoemaker-Levy would have had set it off if it was prime and ready. Our bombs wouldn't hold a candle to that! Beside, the bombs wouldn't help, since fusion ignition requires high gravity to provide the pressure needed at the core, the bomb would just explodes on the surface, or not far from it. Jupiter will never be a star.

    On the other hand, what would be a sight if Jupiter was a star. I wonder if Earth would still be the same, and whether or not all other Jovian planets would be striped bare of their gaseous covering and lay bare of their (maybe) solid cores.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Jupiter is a PLANET that is in hydrostatic balance with a solid iron/nickel/sulfur inner core and a liquid outer core. Jupiter is NOT A FAILED STAR. The proof is Jupiter's magnetic field, Global magnetic fields HAVE to have an outer liquid iron/nickel core and rapid rotation rates to maintain the magnetic dynamo that generates the global magnetic field. The ONLY difference between a main sequence star and planet is that the star has enough mass and enough outward thermodynamic presssure at the center in hydrostatic with balance gravity acting inward toward the center that nuclear fusion is initiated, AND THAT NUCLEAR FUSION CAN BE MAINTAINED FOR MILLIONS to billions of years because there is enough mass/fuel to maintain the nuclear fusion process.

    Probably nothing much would happen. There's not a large amount of O2 to maintain combustion.

    You did not specify which TYPE of nuclear bomb you are talking about, fission or fusion. That's pretty important. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs were FISSION bombs, not FUSION bombs. Even if it was a fusion bomb, there still is not enough mass to maintain nuclear fusion.

    Source(s): Attempted M.S, in geophysics (all but thesis, M.S. in geology - planetary/astrogeologlist
  • Alexis
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Fission is a chain reaction.

    Fusion isn't. A hydrogen bomb would do absolutely nothing to Jupiter's hydrogen, other than making a small hole in the atmosphere for a short time.

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  • Irv S
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Luckily, you don't get to play with H-Bombs.

    Jupiter is WAY too small a mass of hydrogen to 'ignite'.

  • 9 years ago

    The atomic bomb is focused around splitting the atom. Therefore you turn heavy elements into lighter ones.

    Hydrogen is the lightest known element.

    So, to turn Jupiter into a star you would need nuclear fission (the opposite to splitting an atom).

    Therefore it is impossible.

    You probably wouldn't even notice a nuke went off.

    In terms of mother nature and Earth as a whole, atomic bombs are pretty insignificant.

    If you develop a fission bomb, then you should worry.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    Ask your science/astronomy teacher...they should be able to give you a pretty good answer.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago


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