Ocean observations of the Uranus 4 satellite begin

As the possibility of an ocean existing inside the moon Uranus arises, the associated exploration is expected to continue. Uranus, the second most distant planet in the solar system, has 27 moons, including Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon.

On the 27th, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) announced on the 27th that it plans to closely observe Uranus’ icy moons Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, and Oberon, which are believed to have oceans.

A NASA JPL official said, “The possibility that an ocean exists on the icy moon of Uranus has been raised before.” It does,” he said.

Earlier this month, NASA claimed that there is a high probability of an ocean beneath the ice sheets of Ariel, Umbriel, Titania and Oberon. In particular, in the case of Oberon and Titania, the largest satellites of Uranus, ammonia acts as a type of antifreeze, and NASA believes that liquid oceans will be maintained even at low temperatures below 0 ° C.

In a report released in early May, NASA claimed that oceans could exist inside the four moons of Uranus. <사진=NASA 공식 홈페이지>

Planetary probes have led to the idea that there could be water inside icy moons. NASA’s ‘Voyager’ 1 and 2, launched in 1977, although outdated, still roamed outer space and revealed the secrets of planets and satellites in the solar system. Launched in 1997, Cassini, a satellite of Saturn, looked at the mysteries of Saturn and its various moons for 20 years. The activities of the Jupiter probes ‘Lucy’ and ‘Juice’ launched in 2021 and April this year by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are also expected.

The inner solar system moons that scholars believe may harbor water and extraterrestrial life include Saturn’s moon Enceladus, which emits a geyser-like plume on Earth, the asteroid belt subplanet (dwarf planet) Ceres , and Pluto’s moon Charon. NASA, ESA, etc. have come up with related projects for close inspection of these satellites.

Because Uranus is far away, satellite observation is not easy. The only observational data about approaching Uranus and its moons comes from Voyager 2, which conducted a flyby inspection in 1986. For the five moons of Uranus, only about 40% of the surface data is available.

The James Webb Space Telescope began observing in July last year. It will look to see if there are oceans inside the moons of Uranus. <사진=NASA 공식 홈페이지>

Based on information so far, NASA believes that the surface of the five moons of Uranus is covered with porous rocks, which act as an insulator to protect the heat inside. It is believed that the heat of each satellite was produced by the decay of radioactive material for hundreds of years immediately after its birth, and that the remaining heat melted the ice inside the earth’s surface and formed the ocean.

The James Webb Space Telescope is responsible for the precise observation of the moons of Uranus. James Webb is able to observe a wide range of astronomical objects unmatched by existing instruments such as the Hubble Space Telescope. Using the advantages of near-infrared probes, it can capture even distant celestial objects covered by cosmic dust or gas. A photo of Uranus released by NASA in April showed James Webb’s outstanding performance by capturing 11 rings. NASA also plans to use James Webb to date Saturn’s rings.

A JPL NASA official said, “The James Webb Space Telescope revealed the secrets of various planets and satellites in less than a year from the start of the observation.” A cross-comparison of the data will reveal many unknown planets and satellites.”

Reporter Jeong Ian

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