Oceans Discovered on Four of Uranus’ Moons, NASA Reveals

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NASA scientists have recently concluded that four of Uranus’ largest moons likely contain an ocean layer of water between their core and icy crust. This groundbreaking study is the first to examine the evolution of the interior makeup and structure of all five large moons – Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, Oberon, and Miranda.

Four of these moons are believed to harbor oceans that could be miles deep, even though scientists had previously thought these moons were too small to maintain an internal ocean without freezing. Of the seven Uranian moons, Titania is considered the most likely to retain the necessary heat.

Julie Castillo-Rogez from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory mentioned in a statement, “When it comes to small bodies – dwarf planets and moons – planetary scientists previously have found evidence of oceans in several unlikely places, including the dwarf planets Ceres and Pluto, and Saturn’s moon Mimas. So, there are mechanisms at play that we don’t fully understand.”

This discovery was made possible by re-examining data originally collected by NASA’s Voyager spacecraft during two flybys in the 1980s. By combining this data with traditional telescope observations on Earth, computer models of the planet were built, infused with additional findings from NASA’s Galileo, Cassini, Dawn, and New Horizons missions.

Furthermore, researchers incorporated insights into the chemistry and geology of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, Pluto and its moon Charon, and Ceres. These celestial bodies are also icy and roughly the same size as the Uranian moons.

NASA has been investigating the possibility of water on other moons as well. In 2005, scientists observed what they believed to be watery plumes erupting from the surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

The space agency is planning to launch the Europa Clipper spacecraft next year, which will examine the possibility of water plumes and an ice-covered ocean world with potential plumes on Jupiter’s moon Europa.

To summarize, the discovery of ocean layers of water on four of Uranus’ largest moons opens up new possibilities for understanding the mechanisms that govern these celestial bodies. This breakthrough may also contribute to the ongoing search for water on other moons and planets in our solar system.

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