Tuesday , October 19 2021

We need a space mission to watch possible “Spheres” pull a strange planetary trick


Want to see a magic trick in space?

Emerging research suggests that “burgers”, a dirty combination of ammonia and water, may explain some strange readings in Uranus and Poseidon. We have already watched this process in action on Jupiter, where ammonia is found deeper in the atmosphere than we thought because of these dirty delicacies. It is now believed that Uranus and Poseidon may use a similar trick as the older brother of the solar system.

At least, that’s what the model suggests, but we’ll need to take a big planetary close-up of either Poseidon or Uranus to see a little more. Unfortunately, no planet has visited a spaceship since NASA’s Voyager 2 flew out of these worlds in 1989. Telescope technology on the ground continues to improve, but there is no such thing as having a machine “out there” to offers us high resolution views. Just look at this recent image of Jupiter from the Juno spacecraft to get an idea of ​​what you can get.

Tristan Guillaume, research director at the C .te d’Azur Observatory, recently spoke more about Uranus / Neptune modeling research at the Europlanet 2021 Science Conference (EPSC). An announcement from Europlanet notes that telescopic observations of Uranus and Poseidon showed a lack of ammonia in their atmosphere, compared to other giant planets.

“This is surprising because it is otherwise very rich in other compounds, such as methane, found in the primordial cloud from which the planets formed,” the statement said, implying on Jupiter’s observations that they may be the leading mushrooms. more ammonia than telescopes can see. “Either the planets were formed under special conditions, from material that was also poor in ammonia, or some ongoing process must be responsible,” the statement continued.

There have been some attempts in recent years to discuss a mission mission to Heaven, but such an effort would be costly and in any case, no proposal has yet gone through the early stages of an agency mission development plan. And as Nature pointed out last year, a visit to these planets will need to receive a Community mandate, such as a recommendation in the 2022 American Planetary Science Survey, which will be reported in 2022.

If we want to visit these planets in the near future, orbital alignments mean we have to move fast enough. Opportunities to visit Poseidon and Uranus open in the 2030s, but with a typical spacecraft mission that takes about seven to ten years to develop, that means we need to find budget funds and give the ‘green light’. »For development. in the near future, Nature adds.

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