Jeffrey Kenyatta

Jeffrey Kenyatta

Grade: 12

School: Nairobi Milimani Secondary School

City: Nairobi

Topic: Miranda

"Miranda. If you asked me a question about all the moons in planet Uranus, Miranda will most definitely make me stammer. It’s not because I don’t know about it but it’s because there’s been little documented data and analytics about it. The only thing that I can tell you about it is that, just like the famous Frankenstein’s monster, it looks like it was pieced together from parts that didn’t quite merge properly.

At about 500 kilometers in diameter, it’s only one–seventh as large as Earth’s Moon, a size that seems unlikely to support much tectonic activity. I believe that alongside many other scientists and space exploration enthusiasts, sending a spacecraft to explore Miranda would be a milestone in unravelling one of the world’s most unexplored phenomenon. It will expand human understanding, perception and comprehension on the planet Uranus and all its environs.

Artist's view of Voyager 2 at Miranda
​I would like to know why Miranda spots one of the strangest and most varied landscapes among extraterrestrial bodies, including three large features that are referred to as “Coronae” which are considered unique among known objects in our solar system. I would also like to understand the lightly cratered collections of ridges and valleys, separated from the more heavily cratered (and presumably older) terrain by sharp boundaries which appear to look like mismatched patches on a moth-eaten coat. I am interested to know how the formation of giant fault canyons that are estimated to be (12) times as deep as the Grand Canyon occurred and the gravitational force on the surface of Miranda and its effects on the moon.

Many scientists around the world disagree about what processes are responsible for Miranda’s features. I am also puzzled to know whether there’s a possibility that the moon may have been smashed apart in some colossal collision and the pieces having to haphazardly reassemble. Another possibility that I would like to familiarize myself with is whether it could be plausible or not that the scenario that the coronae are sites of large rocky or metallic meteorite strikes which partially melted the icy subsurface and resulted in episodic periods of slushy water rising to Miranda’s surface and refreezing. I am also interested to know the reason why Miranda’s surface is nearly as bright as that of Ariel which is the brightest of the larger Uranian moons, yet none of them reflect more than about a third of the sunlight that strikes them.

I would also like to know how its porous surface could be the result of eons of micrometeorite strikes tilling the soil and casting reflectivity decreasing shadows when illuminated at other angles and causing Miranda’s brightness to increase dramatically when it is in opposition, that is, when the observer is directly between it and the sun. It is also my interest to know whether, Miranda consists of water, ice, silicate rock and presence of life forms. These are some of my very many reasons why Miranda should be explored further as the moon of Uranus."

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