Two of Uranus’ moons may be home to active oceans hidden beneath their surfaces. The new finding was uncovered when astronomers looked back at radiation data that Voyager 2 captured about the planet when it passed by over 40 years ago. According to that new data, the moons Ariel and Miranda could possibly house underground liquid water oceans.
It’s an intriguing discovery that only helps to heighten the need for better exploration of Uranus and its 27 different moons. We can learn more about Uranus and its moons by understanding the oceans that exist on them. This will allow us to better understand their origins. It may also help us determine if they are capable of supporting life.
A new study on the findings has been accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. This study examines the radiation readings that were taken by astronomers. Some of them seem to indicate that one or both of these Uranus moons may be ejecting material from space.
The exact cause and means by which the plasma is being ejected into the solar system are unclear, as the readings we have to look at are all 40 years old at this point. However, with scientists calling for new missions to Uranus, we could likely see more data on the possibility that Uranus’ moons are harboring active oceans in the coming decades.
Learning more about our solar system’s planets has always been a goal for astronomers. However, getting spacecraft to many of those planets isn’t always easy. This doesn’t even take into consideration the cost of these missions. These suggestions that Uranus’ moons may be hiding oceans might help to encourage the creation of Uranus-focused exploration mission.
Further, if NASA and other agencies show enough interest in exploring Uranus and the possibility of these moon-based oceans, then we could see more priority put on Uranus-focused exploration in the near future.
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