Do Uranus’ Moons Have Subsurface Oceans?

Scientists tested whether a classic technique could detect subsurface oceans on the moons of Uranus. In this scenario, the planet’s oddball magnetic field offers a big advantage.


Uranus’s magnetic field, like so much about the planet itself, is quite odd compared with other solar system planets: The field is tilted by 59° from the planet’s spin axis, and its center is shifted by about a third of the planet’s radius from the planet’s center.

Magnetic induction confirmed the presence of Europa’s and Callisto’s subsurface oceans, but Jupiter’s very symmetric magnetic field made it impossible for the Galileo mission to figure out the oceans’ depth, thickness, or salinity with its small number of flybys.


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