Uranus Leaks Gas – What Happens Next?

Not much is known about the planet Uranus, mainly since it has only been visited once. The Voyager 2 spacecraft went by the planet in 1986. Since then, further studies have been conducted to try and learn more about one of the furthest-off planets in the solar system.

But scientists have found that Uranus is currently leaking gas. The planet has been leaking much of its atmosphere as of late. But what does this mean for the planet?

Uranus Leaks Gas
Uranus Leaks Gas

Understanding What Is Happening

There is a plasmoid surrounding Uranus right now. The plasmoid is a plasma bubble that is about 127,000 miles long and about twice as wide. The size is around ten times the earth’s circumference.

Estimates suggest that each bubble produced comes about every 17 hours. The timeframe is equal to the number of times the planet finishes a rotation.

What Does This Mean?

The gas leakage around Uranus suggests that the planet’s atmosphere is being lost and replaced. The action could potentially cause the planet’s structure to change. It would not be at risk of breaking apart or changing its orbit, but it would have a different atmosphere.

The effect is similar to what appears on Mars. It is estimated that a similar event happened to Mars nearly four billion years ago. A similar bubble was formed, which caused the magnetic field to collapse. The atmosphere was removed by solar wind, thus causing the planet’s structure to change. The surface today is arid, but it used to have water all around.

The magnetic field on Uranus appears to be strong enough to prevent the planet from experiencing any dramatic changes like what happened to Mars. Still, the action could make a difference in how the planet operates in the future.

What Are These Gases?

The gases around Uranus include hydrogen and helium. The surface features volatiles that includes water and ammonia. The temperature around the surface is much warmer, while the colder spots around the upper atmosphere have few gases, with helium and hydrogen being the heaviest at that point. The low temperature keeps that part of the planet from having too many noticeable gases.

Some methane also appears near the planet’s surface. The methane is responsible for producing the blue appearance that Uranus appears with the most.

What About Earth?

It is expected that the earth could experience such an event in the future, although that would not happen for millions of years. There is a belief among scientists that the earth releases hundreds of tons of gases every day. But the planet’s magnetic field also protects its atmosphere, thus preventing it from being lost.

The positive about Uranus is that it has enough gas to where it can sustain itself and stay alive. The planet’s atmosphere will be strong enough to where it can continue to remain sustainable and healthy. The unique atmosphere of the planet is a part that will be explored further in the future, especially as the planet continues to leak immense amounts of gas.

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