NASA Oceanographer Yackar Mauzole describes the first potential target for Scientist for a Day contestants: Uranus' moon Miranda.
Scientist for a Day challenges students in grades 5-12 to think like scientists. Examine real spacecraft images of Uranus’ moon Miranda, Neptune’s moon Triton, and Pluto’s moon Charon. Choose the destination you think would be the best place to return with another spacecraft to learn even more about these amazing worlds. Support your choice in an essay of no more than 500 words.
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>> Hi, my name's Yackar and I'm an oceanographer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
As an oceanographer at NASA, my job is to study Earth's oceans from space using satellites.
I think the best moon to study is Miranda, a moon of Uranus. In 1986, when Voyager 2 flew by Uranus, scientists learned Miranda's surface has cracks and valleys. Some people even call it a Frankenstein moon because it looks like it is pieced together out of many different types of ice and rock.
When the spacecraft took these images, only the hemisphere that was pointed at the sun was visible. So the other side of Miranda remains a mystery that we should investigate. The images of Miranda showed an unexpected landscape.
Miranda has the tallest cliffs in the whole solar system, reaching heights up to 65,000 feet. If we could send a spacecraft to orbit Miranda, we would learn much more about this fascinating moon.
I hope you will pick Miranda and write an essay explaining your reasons why we should explore it again. We can't wait to read your essay!