Random models for exploring planet compositions I: Uranus as an example

Joshua I. Podolak, Uri Malamud, Morris Podolak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Modeling the interior of a planet is difficult because the small number of measured parameters is insufficient to constrain the many variables involved in describing the interior structure and composition. One solution is to invoke additional constraints based on arguments about how the planet formed. However, a planet's actual structure and composition may hold clues to its formation which would be lost if this structure were not allowed by the initial assumptions. It is therefore interesting to explore the space of allowable compositions and structures in order to better understand which cosmogonic constraints are absolutely necessary. To this end, we describe a code for generating random, monotonic, density distributions, ρ(r), that fit a given mass, radius, and moment of inertia. Integrating the equation of hydrostatic equilibrium gives the pressure, P(r), at each point in the body. We then provide three algorithms for generating a monotonic temperature distribution, T(r), and an associated composition that is consistent with the ρ−P relation, and realistic equations of state. We apply this code to Uranus as a proof of concept, and show that the ratio of rock to water cannot be much larger than 2.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115017
JournalIcarus
Volume382
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Planetary composition
  • Planetary interior
  • Uranus

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