Tech: 'Cataclysmic' collision shaped Uranus' evolution

Uranus. Image credit NASA

Uranus. Image credit NASA

To better understand how the impact affected Uranus' evolution, the team used a high-powered supercomputer to run a simulation of massive collisions - something that has never been done before. An global team of experts has tried to understand what implications a massive object hitting Uranus in the past would have had. This trapped internal heat could partly explain why the outer atmosphere of Uranus is so cold - at negative 216 degreeCelsius.

The team executed the premiere high-resolution computer simulation of varied huge accident with ice giant to attempt to decipher how the planet evolved. Also, according to the researchers, debris from the foreign object could have formed a shell close to the edge of Uranus' ice layer and thus could have captured the heat that was emanating from the planet's core.

The seventh planet from the sun, which spins bizarrely on its side, is the only celestial world in the Solar System with such a pronounced tilt.

Planetary debris launched into space after impact could have clumped together in orbit around Uranus and form its 27 known satellites and rings. This is nearly certainly caused by a huge impact, but we know very little about how it really happened and how this affected the planet by such a violent incident.

"Our conclusions confirm that the most likely result was that the young Uranus was involved in a cataclysmic collision with an object twice the mass of the Earth, if not big, it is knocking in its favor and events We have a setting in the process of helping to create a planet that we see today".

Uranus moves much differently than the other planets in our Solar System, spinning on its side in comparison to the rest of the worlds in our neighborhood. It concluded that a glancing-but-violent strike could have provided the conditions now witnessed on the planet without sending it hurtling into space.

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Uranus is similar to most of the planets discovered in other solar systems, so the researchers hope their findings will help explain how those "exoplanets" evolved. The researchers think that this is because the object only grazed the planet, hitting it hard enough to change its tilt but not enough to affect its atmosphere, according to a statement from Durham University.

Co-author Dr Luis Teodoro, of the BAER/NASA Ames Research Centre, said: "All the evidence points to giant impacts being frequent during planet formation, and with this kind of research we are now gaining more insight into their effect on potentially habitable exoplanets".

The findings from this research have been published in The Astrophysical Journal.

More worrying is the staggering decline in independent, investigative journalism.

With nobody to hold the rich and powerful to account, or report on the issues that don't fit with the mainstream "narrative", your help is needed.

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