- John Hopkins University scientists found active oceans on two Uranus moons, with potential for extraterrestrial life.
- Volcano-like activity keeps water reserves in a liquid state beneath the surfaces of Uranus’ moons.
- Data from Voyager 2 could identify extraterrestrial life in Uranus’ moons through vapor plumes and electromagnetic fields.
A group of scientists from John Hopkins University in the United States revealed compelling evidence about the possibility of extraterrestrial life hiding in the depths of Uranus, the seventh planet of the solar system, the third largest and the fourth most massive. They believe that two of the 27 moons orbiting the planet have active oceans deep beneath their surfaces, where the key to life may lie.
Researchers at the U.S. university’s Applied Physics Laboratory indicated that the material is pumped like the activity that occurs in volcanoes from inside the moons, where subway water reserves are kept in their liquid state by the tidal forces present on the moons Miranda and Ariel, according to information from the Daily Star.
So this replicates what happens with life forms on Earth, where there are dynamic communities of microorganisms living in the same conditions. Therefore, there would be extraterrestrial life inside the two frozen moons. The scientists’ proposal arose after analyzing data from 1986 by the Voyager 2 space probe, the only spacecraft to have traveled to Uranus.
According to space scientist Ian Cohen who heads the group of researchers, the moons Miranda and Ariel would send plasma particles into the Uranus system. This electrically charged gas can manifest itself in various forms, including lightning.
“It is not unusual for energetic particle measurements to be a precursor to discovering an oceanic world”: Ian Cohen.
Electromagnetic fields, the key
The data are similar to those found on Jupiter and Saturn, where the first “oceanic moons” in the Solar System were confirmed. Therefore, moons are where extraterrestrial life is most likely to be found; however, the current data still keep scientists unable to identify the source of the plasma particles on the two moons of Uranus.
But the research reveals that life outside Earth could be identified through plumes of vapor as happens on Saturn, Cohen explained, plus a process called sputtering where high-energy particles strike a surface and eject other material into space like the oscillating spheres in Newton’s cradle.
Either way would create a stream of particles ejected from the moons into space to create electromagnetic waves allowing Voyager 2 to detect life activity. “The data are consistent with the very exciting potential for there to be an active oceanic moon there,” said Ian Cohen, who added:
“We have been arguing for some years that measurements of energetic particles and electromagnetic fields are important not only for understanding the space environment but also for contributing to broader planetary science research,” added the chief scientist