Two of Uranus’ Moons Could Harbor Active Oceans Beneath Their Surfaces

Two of Uranus’ Moons Could Harbor Active Oceans Beneath Their Surfaces

Uranus has 27 known moons, all of which are named after characters from the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.

The five largest moons of Uranus are Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon. These moons are special because they have a variety of unique features. For example, Miranda has a highly varied and unusual surface with cliffs, canyons, and craters. Ariel has a young, bright surface with extensive sets of parallel valleys, indicating tectonic activity. Umbriel has a dark, heavily cratered surface with a mysterious bright ring-shaped feature. Titania has a complex terrain with valleys, canyons, and faults, and it’s also the largest of Uranus’ moons. 

Oceans could exist on Ariel and Miranda

A new study suggests that Uranus’ moons, Ariel and Miranda, may have active oceans that are pushing material into space, as reveals. The discovery was made using data collected by NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft as it passed by the planet almost four decades ago. The observations showed that one or both of the moons might have a liquid ocean beneath their surface that is actively ejecting plumes of material into space. This finding also supports the idea that Uranus’ five largest moons could have subsurface oceans, as previously suggested by Voyager 2 flyby observations.

Voyager 2 is a space probe launched by NASA in 1977 to study the outer planets of our solar system. In 1986, Voyager 2 flew past Uranus, providing the first and only direct observations of the planet to date. During the flyby, Voyager 2 collected a vast amount of data, including measurements of the planet’s magnetic field, radiation, and atmosphere. These observations led to important discoveries about Uranus and its system of moons, rings, and magnetic fields.

Voyager 2’s observations of Uranus continue to be studied by scientists today, providing important insights into the nature and evolution of the outer planets in our solar system.

Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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