Uranus is more gas-rich than we thought! The planet is not completely filled with ice, scientists discover

Scientists have found methane deep within Uranus, showing that the blue planet is more gas-rich than previously thought.

Early experiments on Uranus showed that the planet is composed mainly of helium and hydrogen with a hint of methane, but a new study shows that it significantly exceeds previous expectations.

The strange thing about methane, however, is that it is not in gaseous form, but is frozen or ‘mushy’ (like a 7-eleven Slurpee) and located in the core of Uranus.

Researchers from the Israel Institute of Technology and the University of California Santa Cruz revealed that despite findings that Uranus is entirely ice, about 10 percent is actually methane.

Researchers have discovered that Uranus is made of more gas than previously thought and want to understand why it is made of ice if there is a large amount of methane in its core

The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, argues that the classification of Uranus as an “ice giant” may no longer be accurate and that the vast amounts of methane could have helped the planet form.

Much about Uranus is still unknown because it is located 3.1 billion kilometers from Earth, but because the solar system is constantly moving, its distance changes daily, up to a distance of more than two billion kilometers.

Only one spacecraft has flown past in history, Voyager 2, in the 1980s, leaving scientists convinced the planet was entirely ice.

To gain a better understanding, the researchers developed hundreds of thousands of models of Uranus’ interior and tried to determine which model most closely resembled the ice giant’s mass and radius.

Each model had different levels of methane, helium and hydrogen, but the researchers found that the models with the most gas element looked more like Uranus.

Now they want to better understand why the planet is made of ice if a large surplus of gas remains in Uranus.

These findings could shed light on the distant planet and its nearby giants, including Neptune, to verify how they formed and better explain what elements they are made of.