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Moons and Icy Worlds: May 2021


While scientists have amassed considerable knowledge of the rocky planets in our solar system, like Earth and Mars, much less is known about the icy water-rich planets, Neptune and Uranus.

The Galileo mission to Jupiter discovered magnetic signatures associated with hidden sub-surface oceans at the moons Europa and Callisto using the phenomenon of magnetic induction. These induced magnetic fields originate from electrically conductive layers within the moons and are driven by Jupiter's strong time-varying magnetic field.

The structure of the icy shells of ocean worlds is important for understanding the stability of their underlying oceans as it controls the rate at which heat can be transported outward and radiated to space.

The 27 satellites of Uranus are enigmatic, with dark surfaces coated by material that could be rich in organics.