In today’s Lightning Round video, I fall down a crazy rabbit hole around Jupiter’s moon Io, talk about a potential crewed mission to Venus, stumble over the newest AI news, and talk a little about my new studio.


Isaac Hutchison

I’ve just learned that Io generates an electrical current (by proxy of Jupiter iirc). Could humans theoretically harness said current? Could that be one of the steps to becoming a Type II civilization?

Dammit Isaac, you had to send me down a rabbit hole.

Io is a super weird moon and I got distracted from your original question because I just kept coming across more and more weird stuff about this place.

So to just quickly answer your question about whether we could harness this current in the first place… I don’t know. I couldn’t find a good answer for that because I had trouble finding how the current was made exactly.

But I think it has to do with these loops of plasma between Jupiter and Io which, I need to step back a bit to explain.

Okay, so Io is about the same size as our moon, and has about the same orbital diameter but whereas our moon orbits the Earth every 4 weeks or so, Io orbits Jupiter every 42 hours. So yeah, Io’s bookin’ it.

That’s because Jupiter is so massive and has so much gravity that its orbital velocity has to be that much faster in order to not fall in.

And all that gravity takes a toll on Io because its orbit isn’t perfectly round, it’s slightly elongated due to interactions with Europa.

This means the tidal forces are constantly warping the planet as it moves closer and further away from Jupiter in its orbit. Its equator basically stretches up to 300 kilometers every 12 hours.

This pretty much just melted Io’s insides so it’s full of molten rock and metals, at the same time it weakens the surface, and that, kids is how you get volcanoes. Lots and lots of volcanoes.

There are over 100 active volcanoes on Io and at least a dozen or so are spewing out lava and gases at any given time. (pic of Pele) Including this bad boy which in no way looks like an anus.

It’s literally the most volcanically active object in the solar system. And all these volcanoes put a lot of gasses in the air, creating a very thin atmosphere.

Another side effect of being so close to Jupiter is that Io is caught in Jupiter’s magnetic field. Jupiter being the most massive planet in the solar system, also has the strongest magnetic field.

This field passes through Io, where it picks up this thin atmosphere I was talking about and starts accelerating charged particles to the poles of Jupiter in these loops of plasma that I mentioned a minute ago.

And we can actually detect the electromagnetic signal that comes off that loop as it orbits around the planet, which makes Jupiter, technically, a pulsar.

Pulsars are usually neutron stars that are spinning so fast that their poles fling jets of energy in regular pulses that we can detect. But technically any object that creates steady repeating signals is a pulsar. So there you go. There’s a pulsar in our solar system.

Anyway, I think the electric currents have to do with that plasma, which again, I don’t know how we would capture that energy, but I did find that it generates 400,000 volts and 3 million amps.

Just for reference, I looked up how many volts come out of the Hoover Dam, and it’s 250,000 volts. So Io would be a little less than 2 Hoover Dams.

And the Hoover Dam provides power for 1.3 million people.

So I suppose, in theory, that sounds pretty good. Tapping Io might make it so that 2 million or so people could colonize space.

Of course, you wouldn’t be able to capture all of that electricity, again, I don’t know how capturing it would work, some kind of induction maybe, but you have to imagine there will be losses in the conversion.

And then, you have to get that power out to where people can use it, I imagine you’d need to send it over microwaves or something like that, which there would be a lot of losses there too.

Not to mention Io rotates around Jupiter so fast, you wouldn’t be able to send a continuous beam of energy anywhere, one way or another it would need to bounce from one energy station to another, meaning even more losses.

One thing I do know is that there won’t be any people working on Io to collect this, those charged particle beams between Jupiter and Io are massively radioactive. Io gets 5 times the lethal dose of radiation every day.

I imagine just using solar panels might be the most useful way to get electricity, unless we had autonomous systems out there and robots to service them.

So maybe we won’t be mining the electricity off of Io but our future robot overlords will.

Good question, that was fun.

Io’s orbit, keeping it at more or less a cozy 262,000 miles (422,000 kilometers) from Jupiter, cuts across the planet’s powerful magnetic lines of force, thus turning Io into a electric generator. Io can develop 400,000 volts across itself and create an electric current of 3 million amperes. This current takes the path of least resistance along Jupiter’s magnetic field lines to the planet’s surface, creating lightning in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere.

Jupiter is kind-of a pulsar with Io because it regularly sends electromagnetic signals our way.

Jupiter’s tidal forces squeeze Io (also interacts with Europa), stirring up its insides and weakening its crust. There are over 190 active volcanoes on its surface, constantly spewing out gas and lava. It is the most volcanically active object in the solar system

Io orbits Jupiter every 42 hours

All the volcanism creates a thin atmosphere that gets swept up in Jupiter’s gravitational field, creating loops of charged particles that makes Io massively radioactive. It receives 5 times the lethal dose of radiation every day.

Chromatic_pic  – January – Discord

Just wanted to say I like the small changes you have made to your channel. The small changes are appreciated. My question is “What are you most excited about with your new studio setup that are in the works?”

Thanks, Chris

I think what I’m most excited about is just being done with it. This was a lot.

And I’m still not completely done with it, there’s still some glitches in the setup that are kinda held together with bandaids.

I’m excited about my new wall unit over here. Still need to organize all the stuff in the various places but I basically have a second work area over there that I didn’t used to have.

I’m excited that we’re shooting in 4K now. To be clear, we aren’t exporting in 4K, but with the extra size we can zoom in and out, it gives us flexibility to do some more fun things with the videos.

I’m excited about the new boom mic. Not having to worry about the batteries in the lavalier mic is a nice weight off my back.

I’m not excited about how hot it’s getting in here with all these lights. Gonna need a solution for that. Probably a mini-split.

I think mostly I’m just excited about making a change and trying some new things

John | right_handed_neutrino – January – Discord

What is the chance that YT creators would make technical mistakes on purpose to generate commenting activity? I’ve noticed a few channels make very obvious mistakes like saying “km/h” when referring to distance or million when they clearly meant billion. My first thought was to check the comments for the correction, then I realized I might be being played. Any truth to this hunch?

I can honestly say that I’ve never done that. When I make mistakes, you can rest assured, it’s because I have the dumb.

If you ever watch one of my videos and hear yourself saying, “Is he really that stupid?” The answer is yes.

Wouldn’t surprise me though, people are always trying to game the system.

I know when I say something controversial or it angers a group of people, when I tell other creators, the response is almost always, “Hey, engagement is good for the algorithm!”

So, I mean… Yes, it’s possible.

But I would also ask you to avoid the trap of thinking that everything a creator does is nefarious and scammy and that they’re trying to trick you.

We’re all just kinda slaves to the algorithm and we’re gotta play the game to stand out from all the noise, like I’ve started A/B testing thumbnails after a video goes out if it’s not doing very well. I know a lot of people hate that and think it’s some kind of trick, when really I just wanna be able to pay my team, you know?

Now there is a kind of clickbait where people post a headline and thumbnail that can’t possibly be true, and it makes you want to click on it just to see how full of shit these people actually are.

Like the thought process is, “there’s no way he’s actually saying that – I need to watch this so I can see how much this guy is lying in his thumbnail.” It’s like you know you’re being tricked but you click  on it anyway because you want to see how badly you’re being tricked.

That is disgusting and I hate it.

Meghan – January – Discord

Chat GPT has become very popular with the tech industry as it’s enormously helpful for complicated questions, so I cannot fathom why school are banning it. What do you think are the repercussions from having a potentially highly functional AI like Chat GPT as a search assistant? What are the downsides

You… really can’t fathom why an English teacher wouldn’t want their students using this?

It’s a really interesting time to be an educator right now because technology has made it so that you don’t really have to know things like facts and figures because that information is available, it’s in your pocket whenever you want it. And that’s actually been true for a while.

And now you don’t even have to the research, just ask your phone the question and it’ll spit out the answer, customized for whatever use you have.

By the way, a new GPT-4 is already out that is supposed to be way more powerful, and there’s going to be even more advancements in the future.

I think we’re going to see a shift in what kind of thinking gets prioritized in schools moving forward, teachers will work with these AI programs to teach lessons that focus on problem solving and creative solutions. I know I’m slipping into Joestradamus territory here.

But I will say I have used Chat GPT for a few things and I don’t fully trust it yet. In my video on smart cities, I asked for a few paragraphs on a project called Telosa that’s being planned for Arizona – planned – it’s just in the drawing board stage right now – and Chat GPT wrote out this long history of this place and there’s a million people that live there and these are the attractions you should see, I mean… it just constructed this entire fake story.

So if we’re not careful, the steady stream of misinformation in the world could become a flood as people start using this to write articles without fact checking it.

Brian Beswick – Discord

With seemingly renewed interest in Venus and theories of an upper atmosphere boundary suitable for habitation, do you think NASA will plan missions to it given its relative closeness compared to Mars?

How long until we have a cloud city Lando?

I really want to see this happen. I think in order to get something like Cloud City to happen, we’d need a massive automated construction infrastructure – might have to mine an asteroid or two.

But the idea of balloons in Venus’ atmosphere is not too far fetched and by the way, combines both space travel and airships, two things I love.

Actually just last year, JPL conducted a few tests with a prototype Venus balloon and it passed them all.

They call it an Aerobot and it’s kind-of a balloon inside a balloon with a helium reservoir that can compress it down when you want to go lower, expand it and the balloon rises.

It’s made out of a special material since Venus’ clouds contain sulfuric acid, and it’s expected it could float around around an altitude of 55 kilometers above the surface for months.

By the way, the Soviets did this back in 1984 with their Vega missions, but they only lasted for like 48 hours. But that was way longer than the lander on those missions lasted.

Now your question didn’t denote whether you meant crewed or uncrewed missions. I’m going to assume it’ll be a while before we do crewed balloon missions. That’s just a type of exploration we’ve never done before.

But I think we could see balloon missions to Venus in the next 10 years. NASA has two missions planned called DAVINCI and VERITAS, going up in 2027 and 2029, but they’re both just orbiters.

I know that Rocketlab has shown an interest in Venus missions so maybe it’ll be a private company that leads the way?

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *