Uranus and Neptune
Uranus (left) and Neptune (right)
giant planets of the outer Solar System are now referred to as the Ice
Giants. They are both blue in color and have dense and deep atmospheres
similar to Jupiter and Saturn. The temperatures are very low and
wind activity is very strong, with the highest wind speeds ever recorded
occurring on Neptune. As with the other gas planets, life
is unlikely to be able to live in the atmosphere or at depth in the crushing
pressures and unfavorable high temperatures towards the core.
A recent idea has been postulated that organic molecules - hydrocarbons
- do form in the atmospheres of these planets, but their high mass
causes them to settle towards the core. As they do so, the hydrogen
molecules are removed from the carbon and this is progressively crushed
to diamond as it sinks, effectively creating diamond rain. It finally
settles out to a diamond core.
© 1999 Satellite Events Enterprises Inc.