Scientists researching the atmospheres of Neptune and Uranus believe they may have solved a puzzle about the planets' atmospheres. According to new research by Tristan Guillot, mushballs may be responsible for transporting ammonia deep into the atmospheres of Neptune and Uranus. Large hailstones composed of a slushy combination of ammonia and water are known as mushballs.
The title of the study is "Mushballs and the lack of Ammonia in Uranus and Neptune." Guillot presented the study during the Europlanet Science Congress 2021.
Why Uranus and Neptune Have No Ammonia On Atmosphere
Phys.org said the new discovery might explain why Uranus and Neptune have no ammonia in their atmospheres as observed in infrared and radio wavelengths. Mushballs can transport ammonia further into the planet's atmosphere, making it difficult to detect behind the dense clouds.
Scientists have been baffled by the lack of ammonia in the two planets' atmospheres. However, the planets are rich in other chemicals, such as methane, which is usually present in the atmospheric of gas giant planets. Scientists think that either Uranus and Neptune originated under unusual circumstances utilizing ammonia-poor material, or that another mechanism is at work on the planets.
Jupiter Solves Mystery For Uranus and Neptune, Blame It On Mushballs!
Guillot proposed a finding on Jupiter as a possible solution to the riddle of where the ammonia on Neptune and Uranus is stored. The Juno spacecraft in orbit above Jupiter discovered a lot of ammonia, but owing to mushballs, the ammonia is considerably deeper in the atmosphere than predicted. Because ammonia can liquefy water ice crystals even at very low temperatures. Ammonia-water hailstones develop quickly during storms on Jupiter.
Claire People explained that both planets are rich in other chemicals, such as methane, which were part of the cloud of gas and dust that created the planets, scientists were astonished by the disparity in the quantity of ammonia discovered. As a result, the quantity of ammonia in these planets might suggest that they originated under unusual circumstances, from material that was likewise low in ammonia, or that another mechanism was at work.
Those ammonia-water hailstones on Jupiter effectively transport ammonia deep into the planet's atmosphere and burying it beneath the clouds. Guillot believes mushballs are to blame for the absence of ammonia observed in the atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune because of this process on Jupiter.
He added that ammonia is most likely concealed in these planets' deep atmospheres, beyond the reach of our current instruments. Hence, the author argues that orbiters with adequate sensors and a specialized mission to study the atmospheric structure of these planets will be required to establish how far the mushballs are transporting the ammonia and water.
RELATED ARTICLE: Why Did NASA Skip Their Missions to Jupiter, Neptune Moons?
Check out more news and information on Space in Science Times.