Aadhya Anand

Aadhya Anand

School: Sathya Sai School of Canada

Teacher: Samuel John Nankivell

City: Toronto, Ontario

Topic: Charon

"Quite frankly, we don’t know much about the Pluto system. We have Pluto, its moons Styx; Hydra; Kerberos; Nix; and most notably Charon. Charon provides us with innumerable mysteries, and possibilities we may never imagine. Jim Christy detected Charon in 1978 when he noticed something peculiar in a telescope image of Pluto. A blob was spotted moving back and forth around Pluto. After a month's worth of observation, Christy announced the discovery of Charon. Charon is peculiar. It is the largest moon in the solar system relative to its planet's size. Due to this, it even causes Pluto to shake! Since it is tidally locked, we have only seen one side of this relatively large moon. On this one side, we have discovered many things, such as ice, a large ravine across the equator, and a red cap on the moon's "Arctic circle," informally known as the Mordor Macula. There could be more peculiarities on the other side. Charon holds infinite intrigues and only another mission to Charon will unlock them.

Artist's view of Voyager 2 at Miranda
​The feature on Charon that should be investigated and may have some relevance for a mission is the Mordor Macula. This charming red cap holds many mysteries. A widely accepted theory about its formation is that gases escaped from Pluto's atmosphere and settled on Charon. The Macula possesses organic compounds, such as methane and nitrogen. However, life as we know it most likely won't exist, as Charon has no atmosphere and is far from the Sun. Charon isn’t very volcanic, although it is speculated that ice volcanoes may exist. Humans can still colonize it, taking advantage of Charon's size, mineral-rich surface, and ice. We could thrive on such a moon.

With the elements found in the Macula, it is very much possible to terraform Charon. Although it won't be exactly like Earth, it will serve the same purpose. We can release the methane and nitrogen, creating a sort of atmosphere, bring carbon dioxide from Earth for warmth, get some plants, and voilà, a moon humans can live on! Charon is self-sustaining because we can create oceans from the ice. We can mine Charon's surface to find minerals never seen before, harvest water, and advance in space travel. It will be much easier since Charon has much weaker gravity than Earth, and is on the outskirts of the Solar System. It will be more cost-efficient and can warn us of any disasters, such as collisions, gamma beams, or alien invasions. Astrophotographers will obtain clearer pictures due to the lack of light pollution. Therefore, scientists such as astronomers and astrophysicists have more proof of their hypotheses. More revolutions will be made, and we can become an interstellar civilization. One of the many vital stepping stones in humanity’s development as a civilization is Charon."

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