Aliens could be hiding deep in Uranus, top space boffins believe

ET could be hiding in Uranus, boffins believe.

Two of the 27 moons orbiting the planet – which is part-owned by your Daily Star – are believed to have active oceans deep beneath their surfaces.

Scientists have discovered material is being pumped volcano-style from within the moons into space.

That indicates underground water reserves kept in a liquid state by tidal forces lie deep beneath the surfaces of Uranus’s moons Miranda and Ariel.

On Earth dynamic communities of microbes have been found living in such conditions.

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That suggests alien lifeforms could be lurking within the two frozen moons.

The proposal comes from new analysis of data captured in 1986 when space probe Voyager 2 made fly-bys of the giant planet up to 1.98 billion miles from Earth.

It remains the only spacecraft ever to have visited Uranus on the far reaches of the Solar System.

Analysis of radiation and magnetic data led by a team in the applied physics laboratory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland US, suggests Miranda and Ariel are adding plasma particles to the Uranus system.

Plasma is an electrically-charged gas which can manifest in a variety of forms including lightning.

Space scientist Ian Cohen, lead author of the study, said: "It isn’t uncommon that energetic particle measurements are a forerunner to discovering an ocean world."

Similar data gave scientists the first clues that Jupiter’s Europa and Saturn’s Enceladus were ocean moons – the first confirmed in the Solar System.

Boffins believe such moons are the most likely places to find alien life. Ian said existing data had so far left researchers unable to pinpoint the source of the plasma particles on Uranus’s two moons.

It could either be a vapour plume – as seen on Enceladus – or the result of a process called sputtering where high-energy particles hit a surface and eject other material into space in a similar manner to swinging spheres on a Newton’s cradle.

"Right now it’s about 50-50 whether it’s just one or the other," said Ian.

Either action would create a stream of particles ejected from the moons into space to create electromagnetic waves – enabling Voyager 2 to detect the activity.

Ian said: "The data are consistent with the very exciting potential of there being an active ocean moon there."

The findings are likely to increase calls for a return voyage. Last year (2022) a panel of key scientists recommended Nasa’s next planetary mission should be a £3.4bn return to the turquoise giant – The US space agency has yet to confirm if it will take on the project.

"We’ve been making this case for a few years now that energetic particle and electromagnetic field measurements are important not just for understanding the space environment, but also for contributing to the grander planetary science investigation," Ian added.

"Turns out that can even be the case for data that are older than I am. It just goes to show how valuable it can be to go to a system and explore it first-hand.’’

It comes after your Daily Star laid claim there in 2020 – buying part of the seventh planet from the sun after Russia suggested it owned Venus.

The Real Estate Commission and Trust of Uranus Management (RECTUM) flogged parts of the faraway planet for just under £8 per square mile.

As the Daily Star revealed a fortnight ago next month the European Space Agency will send its Juice probe to Jupiter to search alien life in oceans beneath the ice on its moons.


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