1. Salt may be key to unlocking interiors of Neptune and Uranus

Salt may be key to unlocking interiors of Neptune and Uranus

A new study has suggested that several of our solar system's planets and moons aren't filled with the regular kind of water ice that one avoids on the sidewalk in winter.

By: | Published: June 23, 2015 2:43 PM

A new study has suggested that several of our solar system’s planets and moons aren’t filled with the regular kind of water ice that one avoids on the sidewalk in winter.

The ice that’s found inside these objects must exist under extreme pressures and high temperatures, and potentially contains salty impurities, too.

New research focuses on the physics underlying the formation of the types of ice that are stable under the paradoxical-seeming conditions likely to be found in planetary interiors. Their work could challenge current ideas about the physical properties found inside icy planetary bodies.

Researcher Alexander Goncharov said that these findings could challenge the current thinking on the physics occurring in the interiors of icy planetary bodies, adding that all of their current assumptions are based on the behavior of ice without any impurities.

The presence of salt could also possible create the conditions under which the theorized electrically conducting type of ice would form. If so, this could explain the magnetic fields of Uranus and Neptune, the team proposed.

The study is published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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