Thursday, December 2

The moons of Uranus could have oceans under the surface | Digital Trends Spanish


Uranus’ moons could be a good home for sub-surface oceans, reveals a new study. They are Titania and Oberon, two of the 27 satellites that revolve around the seventh planet from the Sun.

Due to its distance from the star, Uranus and its satellites are very cold, with temperatures that can reach -200 degrees Celsius on average. On the surface, it is impossible for there to be water. But inside, the story may be different and study author Francis Nimmo believes that finding liquid water on Titania and Oberon would not be entirely surprising.

This is because the two satellites – the largest around Uranus – have some peculiarities that would allow the existence of water inside. One of them has to do with the porosity of the surface; with fewer pores, the body loses less heat and, therefore, prevents water from freezing.

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The second key factor for the presence of water on these moons is the presence of ammonia, which reduces the temperature necessary for the ice to melt. And the third is the presence of clathrates, a substance that prevents an “escape” of heat from the ocean, which maintains the temperature at an adequate level for there to be water in a liquid state.

If Titania or Oberon have 10 percent ammonia in their underground oceans, or if the surface porosity reaches 12 percent, then the chances of water being present in the interior increase.

These results are based on a mathematical model designed by the authors of the study from the University of California. But the confirmation will be given once a mission reaches Uranus and its moons, which could happen until 2030 by NASA.

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