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Two of Uranus’ Moons May Harbor Active Oceans


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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Two of Uranus’ Moons May Harbor Active Oceans, Radiation Data Suggests


Uranus — the turquoise, tilted oddball of the solar system — may have just joined ranks with Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune as host to at least one icy moon that’s pumping particles into its planetary system.

In a new study led by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, researchers reanalyzed nearly 40-year-old energetic particle and magnetic field data taken by NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft — the only spacecraft so far to have gone to Uranus. Their results, recently accepted for publication in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, suggest that one or two of Uranus’ 27 moons — Ariel and/or Miranda — are adding plasma into the space environment through an unknown and mysterious mechanism. One tantalizing explanation is that one or both moons have oceans beneath their icy surfaces and are actively spewing material, possibly through plumes.

Read More: The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory


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