Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:15 AM
URANUS SATELLITE EVOLUTION PREDICTED FROM COMPARATIVE PLANETOLOGY WITH SATURN’S SATELLITES
Observations returned by the Cassini-Huygens
mission have lead to major paradigm shifts in our understanding of giant planet satellite origin and evolution. Large differences in physical properties among Saturn’s small satellites point to a complex formation scenario for that system, while variations in geological properties suggest that these objects have inherited very different heat budgets. The Uranian satellites also exhibit variations in physical and geological properties that resemble those observed in the Saturnian system and open the door to comparative planetology between the two systems that may help to constrain formation and evolution scenarios and also to make predictions in preparation for a future mission to the Uranian system. A Uranus Orbiter and Probe has indeed been emphasized in the recent Planetary Science Decadal Survey Vision and Voyages
and has also been proposed in response to ESA’s M-Class mission program (Uranus Pathfinder
, Arridge et al.).
This presentation will cover the state of the art in small icy satellite research and identify possible trends in satellite internal evolution that may bear geological signatures to be observed by a future mission to the Uranian system.
Acknowledgement: Part of this work was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract to NASA.