Everything That I Know About Jupiter

Jupiter is the fifth planet in the solar system. It’s a “gas giant,” which sounds unfortunate. In Montessori school, which I attended until third grade, we were allowed, often, to write paper topics of our own choosing. So I chose the planet of Jupiter for my paper topic, Jupiter being the largest planet available in the solar system at the time (and it still is). I was into big things at the time: blue whales, T-Rexes, depression, Pangaea.

This was in 1st grade when I wrote this paper. I had just learned that week that you could use dashes when writing something, in case the word at the end of a line ran long and you wanted to restart it at the beginning of the next line. Thus, my paper, WHICH WAS WRIT-

-TEN IN ENORMOUS ALL-CAPS,

ENDED UP LOOKING SOMETH-

-ING LIKE THIS, SINCE I HAD-

-N’T YET LEARNED RESTRAIN-

-T IN THE AREA OF EM-DASHES.

…Anyway, so, Jupiter.

_____

Jupiter is the fifth and largest planet. It’s a gas giant. I no longer remember how many moons it has, but it has a large number of moons, including Io, Ganymede, and Europa. Most of what we see of Jupiter is made up of gases, including methane? I am not going to look these facts up. Jupiter has an enormous, everlasting storm that you can see from space, called the Great Storm or the Huge Storm or something — it’s that big swirl that you see in pictures of Jupiter. The storm is the size of Texas in real life, which is fun to imagine, Texas and George Bush being f-cked up by a storm like that.

From the surface of Jupiter (assuming you were standing on top of the clouds, not buried within them), the sun would look five times smaller than it does from Earth. It wouldn’t look like a “sun” at all; it’d just look like a very bright star. You still couldn’t stare directly at the sun, because it would still be too bright. (You could stare at it from the surface of Pluto, though.)

The sun would provide you with light but not heat. Unprotected, you’d freeze to death. At sunrise and sunset, through the haze of the clouds, the sun would resemble a cruciform cross, its arms providing illumination, but no life. You’d die in seconds without a spacesuit. As you would die anywhere else in the known universe, except for on Earth. To quote another, better writer, “It would seem that the universe is thirty billion light years across and every inch of it would kill us if we went there. This is the position of the universe as regards human life.”

But these are not all of the facts that I know about Jupiter.

_____

The other thing that I remember about Jupiter is that the kids’ “science” book that I consulted about it (in-between stealing glances at The World Book Encyclopedia) had sections about extraterrestrial life. Separate sections for each planet — Mercury, Venus, Mars, and so on. For each planet, there was a section with artists’ renderings of what aliens living on that planet might look like. Pluto had ice-like crystal creatures, I remember. Venus had amorphous blobs.

For Jupiter, there were depictions of sentient hot air balloons and flying manta rays, exploding blimps and pterodactyls. All of them alive.

To live on Jupiter, you’d have to be able to float. If you descended too far beneath the clouds, heading towards the core, you’d be crushed by the quite horrific levels of gravity — which is what happens to all of the probes that we’ve dropped into Jupiter.  The actual planet part of Jupiter is pretty small — only the size of the Earth. No one has ever seen it, the way that no one’s ever seen God in the Old Testament — assuming that that comparison makes sense, which it doesn’t — anyway, the whole planet part is hidden by the clouds.¹ So if you lived on Jupiter, you’d have to live in the clouds, which sounds fine to me, because I’ve always wanted to be able to fly, which you’d also have to do.

I mentioned this — my desire to fly — to my friend the other day, as we were standing on his balcony, staring at some sparrows that were perched on the telephone wires.

“I wish that I was a bird,” I said to him. “Birds can fly. You’re free when you can fly.”

This was a fairly basic and obvious thing to say — but also, I thought, maybe it was at least slightly poetic?

My friend didn’t seem to think so. “Birds are entirely covered in f-cking lice,” he said. “And they have diseases. Diseases and lice,” he added, thereby terminating the conversation.² I did not mention my desire to float above Jupiter. God knows what he would find wrong with that plan.

_____

And then there’s the other other thing that I know about Jupiter. Scientists believe that the core of the planet is made of carbon. So there’s all this carbon, like black coal, and then there’s all this gas around it, with the heavy gravity, squeezing down on the coal — like evil Superman squeezing on that lump of coal in Superman III, when he evilly turns a lump of coal into a diamond.

…So at its core, probably, Jupiter consists of a diamond that is the size of the planet Earth. A bunch of scientists believe this. Allow me to repeat that: …A DIAMOND. THE SIZE OF. THE PLANET EARTH. This fact has always haunted me for some reason. Well, not for “some reason.” The thing is, I want to have that diamond! Could I assemble a team of men to steal it, Nicholas-Cage-movie-style? I could, can, and will. And I will need… THAT HOT GIRL, UNTRUSTWORTHY GUY WHO TURNS OUT TO BE A NARC, VIN DIESEL, HILARIOUS BLACK PERSON, THE KID, and WONKY SCIENTIST WHO LEARNS SOMETHING ABOUT LIFE IN THE PROCESS. If you are any/ all of these people, please sign up to join my team — “Omega Team” — in the comment section.

We forget things that are amazing. All the time. All. The. Time. How often do you even ever think of the planet Jupiter? I probably remember to think about it once every six months, if I’m lucky. This huge planet. With a storm the size of Texas. And at its center, there’s a diamond. And we never even remember to think about it.

Anyway.

_____

…Anyway.

In conclusion, sort of, I have always wanted to live someplace different. Or wanted to be a bird. Either/ or. …I have always wanted to live someplace… different — someplace different from wherever it was that I was currently living. Someplace different. And Jupiter has riches, and Jupiter has grace. …And so, a-Jupiter-ward I will go, along with my team. I will arise, and go, and go to Jupiter. There I will live, amongst the gas and living hot air balloons and the pterodactyls. And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow, dropping from the veils of morning to where the Great Storm rages. …There midnight’s a glimmer, and noon a purple glow; the evening full of the pterodactyls’ wings.

And so, I will go now, for always night and day, I hear the gas clouds lapping with low sounds by the sky. While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray. I hear it in the heart’s deep core. TC mark

Thumbnail image – Jupiter Earth Spot comparison

More From Thought Catalog

  • Poop

    dis sux

    • Oliver Miller

      Hmm.  I’d like to hear more of what this “Poop” person has to say!  By the way, let’s all agree not to discuss how owning a diamond the size of a planet would, er, massively depreciate diamond prices world-wide, thereby rendering all diamonds worthless.  K?  Thx.  Bye.

      • Jenny

        Not necessarily. Diamonds are only worth a lot right now because of the massive monopoly on them. So if only one person owned the diamond the size of earth and they never ever shared it, little ones might still be worth a lot!

    • http://twitter.com/SoosSahar Sahar Soos

      shuttup that was rude, poop.

  • http://twitter.com/SoosSahar Sahar Soos

    this was fun to read lol

  • Rishtopher

    Despite what “Poop” wrote before me, I do not believe that this sucks. At all. In fact, I loved every bit of this. It was whimsical and funny, so please continue to write more. 

    PS: My favourite planet is Saturn, but Jupiter is pretty badass.

    • Oliver Miller

      My favorite planet is likewise Saturn.  Though I have a soft spot for Pluto, also.  I betrayed Saturn as a kid, by picking Jupiter b/c it was bigger.  And so it goes…

      • Guest2

        You are by far my favorite writer on this site/many parts of the internet. Please make an awesome book at some point.

  • Michaelwg

    I just feel sorry for you, in that, when you do arrive, you’ll realize that De Beers has had African slaves mining it for the past 10 years. Yes, De Beers can afford that shit.

  • http://twitter.com/MellowedDrama S

    Dude, you high? Loved it, anyway!

  • Jen

    This was awesome. Please write more. All the time.

  • vin diesel

    OMEGA TEAM

    i’m on board

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

      Ω!

      • Oliver Miller

        Great, um, we need funding, guys.  A metric shitton of funding, really.

      • vin diesel

        luckily I am part of lucrative franchise ‘The Fast and the Furious’.

        now let’s go for a little ride…

  • Petra

    So beautiful! Thank you.

  • http://www.nicholeexplainsitall.com EarthToNichole

    Either the author was high while writing this, or maybe I’m high. Either way, it was hilarious.

    • Oliver Miller

      You know-www that I hate getting high, dork.

  • Lexa

    I call the wonky scientist! Omega!

  • That Nerdy GIrl...

    I would like to join OMEGA team, but I don’t think I’d qualify as ‘That Hot Girl’.  If life were an episode of Scooby Doo, I’d be Velma rather than Daphne… Does OMEGA need ‘That Nerdy, Slightly Eccentric Girl Next Door’?

  • richard kiyosaki

    more on the sentient hot air balloons

  • RG

    My favorite planet was Uranus… until Uranus just became a big joke… now even I can’t take it seriously anymore :(

    • Oliver Miller

      Weird.  Why was that your favorite?

      • RG

        apparently it’s an ice-giant with frigid gas swirling over a huge ocean that for some reason is super hot… like 5000 degrees F hot. For some reason I’ve always liked that idea of two temperature extremeties existing on one planet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joe-Moses/9347133 Joe Moses

    I have that book, or had that book anyway, with the pictures of different planets and their ‘aliens’ if existing. Now I miss it. Oliver, you and I shared a lot of third-grade-things-to-be-into. 

    • Oliver Miller

      That book rules.  Much Google-searching was wasted in trying to find it again.

  • Guest

    I’m going to low your mind Oliver, the Great Red Spot is actually as big as two to three Earths. I know right?

    • Guest

      *blow

      • Oliver Miller

        Several people have in fact blown my mind by correcting this already.  I would add a footnote, but I’m trying to stick to my promise to not look up anything in the article.  Anyway, that’s a big storm!  Mind.  Blown.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1377683806 Sama Al-Sharifi

    After reading this, I officially believe in aliens. 

  • Oliver Miller

    Oh my god.  Thaaaank yew.  Just bought for $1.01.

  • The Hot Chick

    I would totally love to be “That Hot Girl”, but since I’m a senior in high school I would settle for “The Kid” if you are looking for someone older. That’s fair, but I’d at least like a romance of my own in our epic journey, because it makes it much more fun. Plus, we all know “The Kid” is usually a guy and therefore in typical story line we find it okay for him to be very single and platonic to everyone. That’s boring, and I’m a girl. So I need a supporting role because by myself I’m just not interesting enough.

    • Oliver Miller

      I guess if you were The Kid, you could have a semi-chaste thing with Wonky Scientist.  That seems to work.

  • To Infinity and Beyond!!

    To Infinity and Beyond!!

  • The Kickass Hot Girl

    Oh I love you already! Now give me the diamond. :)

    • Oliver Miller

      Not… so… fast.  Who’s to say that you couldn’t be the narc?

  • Steve

    In your link to Innisfree, I very much like how WBY’s birth year is given, but not his death year, as though he existed forevermore and blithely, floating on the summer breeze, and every tower and every tor reminds him of Themistocles.

    • Oliver Miller

      Zombie Yeats will destroy us all.

  • Giancarlo 1996

    i need more halp

  • James

    Thanks for the info on Jupiter!

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