The ice giants in our solar system are bizarre worlds of extremes … for example if you were born in one of the poles of Uranus you would be middle-aged at sunset. kissing and very old, 84 years old before the second sunrise and as of a second dawn on Neptune, one evening, the world is cold, the hypersonic wind whip can reach 1,500 miles per hour, you will be 165. However, their real story will go back billions of years, their lies locked in their own country.
“Hydrogen and oxygen are the most abundant elements in the Universe, along with helium. It can be easily inferred that water is one of the main components of many celestial bodies. Ganymede and Europe, satellites of Jupiter, and Enceladus, satellites of Saturn, are present on the icy surface below oceans of water. Neptune and Uranus are probably also composed mainly of water, ”said Federico Grasselli and Stefano Baroni – scientists from SISSA in Trieste and UCLA, who paved the way for internal modeling of The ice giants are Uranus and Neptune, thanks to their microscopic water-based computer simulations to unlock stories from billions of years ago.
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New theoretical method
A new theoretical method allows them to analyze thermal and electrical processes that occur under physical conditions that are often not reproducible experimentally, with an easier and much lower cost approach. In this study, the researchers analyzed the electrical and thermal conductivity of water under extreme temperature and pressure conditions, such as those occurring within giant ice planets as well as in many alien planet outside of it. In fact, investigating the phenomena that occur under their surface is key to understanding the evolution of these objects, determining their age, and unraveling the shape and evolution of magnetic fields. of them.
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“Our knowledge of the planet’s interior” – they added – “is based on the properties of the planet’s surface and the magnetic field, which are themselves affected by the physical characteristics of the internal structure of the planet. these, as the transport of energy, mass and charge across the intermediate layers. That is why we have developed a theoretical and computational method to calculate the thermal and electrical conductivity of water, in the phases and conditions that occur in such celestial bodies, starting with tissues. Advanced simulation of the microscopic dynamics of some hundreds of atoms and combines the quantum nature of the electron without any special approximations. “By simulating the atomic scale for the nanosecond fractions, we can understand what happened to these enormous masses on a billions of years time scale.”
Superionic – “Not the ice or water that we used on Earth”
Scholars have analyzed three different phases of water: ice, liquid and superrionic, under the typical extreme pressure and temperature conditions of the inner layers of these planets. Hot, black Superionic ice is a strange form of water that can include most of the giant frozen planets in the universe.
As Joshua Skokol reports, Joshua Skokol to Quanta, who was not involved in the study, theoretically predicted for the first time more than 30 years ago, “capable of solving puzzles about giant ice planets. What are giants like Uranus and Neptune made up of. They are now thought to have a gaseous outer shell, a chemical mixture, a layer of liquid ionic water underneath, a super ice solid layer that covers most of their interior and rock centers. “
“It’s really a new state of matter”
Physicist Livia Bove of France’s National Center for Scientific Research and the University of Pierre and Marie Curie, said: “It’s really a new state of matter,” she said, “pretty spectacular.” .
Grasselli and Baroni explain: “Under such bizarre material conditions, we cannot think of ice as we did. Even water is actually different, denser, with some molecules dissociated into positive and negative ions, thus carrying a charge.
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Superionic water is somewhere between the liquid and solid phases: the oxygen atoms of the H2O molecule are organized in a lattice, while the hydrogen atoms diffuse freely as in a charged liquid. The study of currents and heat generated by water in these three different forms is needed to unravel many of the unsolved problems.
Existence of a frozen core
The two scientists also said that “the electrical currents inside are the basis of the planetary magnetic field. If we understand what the previous flow was, we can learn a lot more about the latter. And not only that. “The heat and electricity transport coefficients determine the planet’s history, how and when it was formed, and how it cools. Therefore, it is important to analyze them with the right tools, like the one we have developed. In particular, the thermal conductivity properties that appeared in our study allowed us to hypothesize that the existence of a frozen core could explain Uranus’s abnormally low luminosity due to thermal flux. extremely low from its inside towards the surface. “
Furthermore, the electrical conductivity found for the ultrasonic phase is much greater than assumed in earlier models of magnetic field generation in Uranus and Neptune. Since superpower water is thought to dominate slow and dense planetary layers below the convective fluid region where their magnetic fields are generated, this new evidence could have a major impact on geometry studies and the evolution of the magnetic fields of the two planets.
The Daily Galaxy, Sam Cabot, through SISSA and Quanta
Image credit: NASA Ice Worlds