Discovery of oceans on moons of Uranus with data from 4 decades ago

Discovery of oceans on moons of Uranus with data from 4 decades ago

New technologies available to today’s researchers play a key role in shaping our understanding of the solar system. The presence of these technologies not only reveals new findings from the latest recorded data, but also allows researchers to obtain new information using data collected in the past. Thanks to this technology, researchers who have data from decades ago Voyager 2 probe They investigate NASA, they have succeeded in discovering the ocean in the moons of Uranus.

SpaceX landing on the moon in 2023

A mission that started 45 years ago and is still going on

NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft was launched in 1977 to study the outer planets of the solar system and beyond. In 1986, the probe became the first of its kind to visit Uranus, capturing never-before-seen images and data about the ice giant during its five-and-a-half-hour flyby of Neptune. During the trip, the probe discovered and provided information about 10 new moons orbiting the planet, two new rings (in addition to the nine already known), and information about Uranus’ tilted, off-axis magnetic field.

Discovery of oceans on the moons of Uranus

Although this data is now more than 37 years old, researchers who have analyzed it using modern modeling techniques have been able to make significant discoveries about the four largest moons of Uranus. According to the new findings, four of the planet’s 27 moons (Titania, Oberon, Ariel, and Ambryl) appear to have an oceanic layer between their cores and the icy surface that covers them.

Discovery of oceans on the moons of Uranus

this study It combined early data collected during Voyager 2 flybys with more recent data from ground stations and other NASA spacecraft, including Galileo, Cassini, Dawn and New Horizons. Voyager 2’s augmented data models allowed the researchers to determine that the moons may have enough internal heat to sustain a liquid ocean, possibly even at habitable temperatures.

In these studies, they estimated the porosity of each of the lunar surfaces, identified potential heat sources that could help support subsurface ocean temperatures, and made further observations about the potential composition of the surface and subsurface oceans.

Information about the material on the surface of moons helps scientists understand the structure of potential oceans beneath them. Materials that appeared due to volcanic activity indicate the possible presence of chlorides and ammonia in newly discovered oceans. If these theories are correct, the presence of these materials further supports the potential for liquid oceans based on their known resistance to freezing.

Discovery of oceans on the moons of Uranus

The discovery of the ocean in the moons of Uranus, re-emphasizes the need to explore more of Uranus and the mysterious moons around it. In 2022, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released their Decade Strategy for Planetary Sciences and Astrobiology. The report previously listed the Uranus orbiter and probe (UOP) as the highest mission priority. These new findings will undoubtedly strengthen this position and ensure the scope of exploration of probes at great distances from the Sun.

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