Is it possible to get some gases like hydrogen from gas planets (Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus or Neptune)?

  • $\begingroup$ What's your idea here, to swoop up gas in a fly-by? You'd be more prone to fall into the planet then, or break-up by tidal stresses. If you have a different idea how to get the gases, then I don't know. The enormous gravity of the gas giants is responsible for keeping all the gas for the age of the solar system, after all. If you have an idea how to overcome that.. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 9:56
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ When inserting into jupiter's orbit, Juno (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juno_(spacecraft)) was travelling at 210,000 km/h at closest approach, which on earth would be Mach 176. The gas you collect (and the scoops themselves, along wit the rest of your ship) will turn into plasma. $\endgroup$
    – Ingolifs
    Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 10:42
  • $\begingroup$ Project Daedalus (1970s) would be fueled by hydrogen from Jupiter. As to whether it's really feasible.... en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Daedalus $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 15, 2019 at 21:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think it's a really interesting question. I've voted to close as ""too broad"; the key would be to define more clearly what "get gas" means. There's currently an answer that interprets it as getting useful quantities for practical applications. Did you mean that? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 1:31
  • $\begingroup$ As Uhoh said, title vs text made the Q really unclear. $\endgroup$
    – Alchimista
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 6:58

1 Answer 1


Yes. It's certainly feasible to obtain a sample from Jupiter or Saturn, effectively getting gas from the planet, but it's not easy.

Massive planets, as a byproduct of their high mass, create large gravity wells which require a lot of fuel to fly close enough to get a sample from and return with it to where it's needed. It would take perhaps a ton of conventional fuel to return from Jupiter with a few pounds of gas, which isn't a good return on investment.

Collecting hydrogen from Jupiter would be expensive almost certainly not worth the cost. It would be much easier to obtain hydrogen in space from frozen water ice, frozen methane or frozen ammonia, where hydrogen is abundant. This can be obtained in icy comets and there's even some water-ice on the moon in craters, which has a much smaller gravity well. Also on Mars' ice caps and inside Ceres, it's believed there's about an entire oceans worth of water, perhaps more water inside Ceres than on Earth.

That's a lot of hydrogen that would be far easier to harvest than hydrogen from Jupiter. And while it would need to be separated from Oxygen, chemical separation would require many times less energy than collecting hydrogen from a gas planet's gravity well. You'd also have the advantage of not just harvesting hydrogen but oxygen as well.

It's not impossible to harvest hydrogen from Jupiter or Saturn, it's just difficult to imagine it being worth the trouble.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .