Is there something I've missed in 40 years of planetary study? People rave about the possibilities in oceans of Europa and Ganymede; but I find about zero speculation of life on the big two "gas giants" themselves. When and why has the scientific community dismissed the chance that even microbial life might abound there? Do phase diagrams exclude the possibility of liquid water on them? I think not and was under the impression that liquid water is a fact of life on both as evidenced by spectroscopic analysis, Shoemaker -Levy impact analysis, lightning in Jupiters clouds and come on, if there's water on those moons me thinks there should be quite a bit of it on "the gas giants". OK, can someone tell me if a water ocean is possible on the two or does it all turn to steam? And if it is possible might they then point out about where water might be found, say on top of the molecular helium mantle or sandwiched between the metallic hydrogen and the "rocky" core(I'm thankful the experts figure some wayward iron, tin, iridium, and even plutonium generator packs might have made the trip to Jupiter). Though they might go molten at the core.
I really resent the term "gas giants". Sure, the H and He are major constituents, but even the crudest cross-sections show these as going to fluid states in short depth. But the gas giant misnomer leads to a dismissive attitude concerning lifeforms. I suppose it is assumed that by the time one reaches a "fluid" layer the temps and pressures are to high for any marine -like critters. I would remind them of the fish seen at the bottom of the Mariannas Trench seven miles deep on Earth and the abundant lifeforms inhabiting the "black smokers" on our sea beds. So why no speculation of atleast floating organisms in the thick and colorful atmospheres of the giants? I do remember some artist's fanciful depiction of gas bag type floater's predating the various levels. And I remember 30 years ago in Sky and Telescope a mention that these colorful clouds must surely have organic chemistry at work. So again--why the total dearth of belief that even simple lifeforms aren't happening on such vast and complex planets?
If it's worth the effort to send the JIMO project to Jovian moons why not a slow probe,even a variable altitude balloon, with cameras, and WITHOUT THE PLUTONIUM GENERATORS, to King Jove ?
I respectfully seek some feedback on this subject--in particular some learned idea of whether or not one might find a warm, salty ocean beneath say 300 miles of roiling clouds. The atmospheric pressure might be quite high at such a sea level but not to the exclusion of pernicious and hardy lifeforms. Calamari anyone?
Chair-San Benito County CA. LP