Sampurnam Sarkar

Sampurnam Sarkar

Grade: 7

School: Tezpur Gurukul

City: Tezpur, Assam

Topic: Miranda


"Miranda is the innermost and the smallest moon of Uranus’s five round moons. It is like a Frankenstein’s Monster. It looks like that different pieces has been put together but has not merged properly. It is a mysterious ugly moon. Miranda has a diameter of 471 kilometres and is mainly composed of 60% water ice. Miranda is rocky and the surface is probably covered with water ice.

Artist's view of Voyager 2 at Miranda
​It was only in January 1986 when the Voyager 2 sends us the images of its southern hemisphere which was pointed towards the sun. The northern hemisphere of Miranda is still a mystery. Miranda has three “coronae” named Arden, Elsinore and Inverness which are at least 200 kilometres wide. Miranda has the highest cliff of the solar system, “Verona Rupes” which is 20 kilometres deep. Miranda’s gravity is less than 1% of earths. Its surface temperature is less than -185 degree Celsius .It has ice volcanoes which erupts water ice mixed with ammonia, methane and other gasses in liquid form. Maybe the tidal forces from Uranus pull Miranda and generate enough heat to churn thereby forming the “coronae”, this also explains about ice volcanoes on Miranda.

WHY MIRANDA?

  • Miranda is a blend of all exotic surface topography found in our solar system. The geological process in its surface is diverse and mysterious.
  • Miranda has the most strange and a varied extraterrestrial body. Its surface is a jumbled assortment of curious terrain. With just 471 kilometres in diameter we will have a comparatively smaller area to explore and study.
  • Miranda doesn’t have any atmosphere and as such its clear sky will help us to view Uranus and its system with more details and clarity.
  • All that we know about Miranda is its Southern Hemisphere because Voyager 2 took the images of this side which was facing towards the sun. But we don’t know anything about its Northern Hemisphere. Maybe this part has higher cliffs, bigger “coronae” and other mysteries.

SCIENCE INSTRUMENTS TO BE CARRIED BY OUR SPACECRAFT

  • Our spacecraft will carry a helicopter that can fly in a non-existence atmosphere with gravity less than 1% on earth as the terrain might not be suitable for a rover. Moreover, the helicopter can study the cliffs which are the highest in our solar system.
  • Miranda is tidally locked with Uranus and is exposed to very high radiation from Uranus. So we can send a Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) to measure the type and amount of radiation Miranda is exposed to.
  • Our spacecraft need to carry First-photon Imager camera and other high resolution cameras because the other side that is the Northern Hemisphere might be pitching dark.

So, I think there are many mysteries to be discovered in Miranda - The ugly moon with dramatic features."

Solar System News