Sophie Ineson

Sophie Ineson

Grade: 8 (US 7th Grade)

School Name: Southland Girls High School

Teacher: Sharee Ineson

City: Invercargill

Topic: Triton

"Hello it's me Triton. I was the moon you flew by on your final mission with Voyager 2 in 1989. I strongly believe you should send another spacecraft because I have lots to show you and if you don’t in approximately 3.5 billion years the pull of Neptune will split me up and I will become a ring system.

The first reason your visit would excite me is because I would like to show you more about my reflective surface. My craters are surrounded by volcanic planes. Icy lava flows over my rough surface creating ice shows by forcing nitrogen and methane into the atmosphere. This nitrogen then condenses to form nitrogen snow as it drifts back down.

Artist's view of Voyager 2 at Triton
I am unique because I have a retrograde orbit and I orbit the opposite way from Neptune.. When you had Voyager fly by, my South Pole was facing the sun and I was part way through the season of spring. Hard to believe I’m so far from the sun and yet the sun's heat can cause these seasons.

I would also like to show you how my frost is formed from frozen nitrogen and methane. I’m a cold moon, with a temperature of -235 degrees Celsius, so the gases freeze. You might even see my nitrogen ice clouds. This is all part of my thin atmosphere. In fact I’m 70,000 times less dense that your Earth!

If you return you should try to find my interior ocean. This has been formed by the ice in my core melting due to the heat from Neptune taking some of my energy. The traces of ammonia may be linked to why my ocean doesn't freeze.

You may think I am lonely but you are probably wrong. I have a young surface and I know you know this because you have noticed I only have a few craters. Also my nitrogen gas plumes are probably caused by the ocean so all these clues maybe mean life could exist here.

I see from your trident mission video that you may aim to visit me in 2038 with a launch date of 2025. If you want to compare new data with what you saw on your first visit, this time slot is very important due to my long seasons. You need to bring a plasma spectrometer that helps sample particles on my surface and in my plumes. You will be able to fly a lot lower, you can therefore get a better understanding of magnetic fields. You should include a radio science instrument as this would help you figure out if I do have an ocean and how deep it actually is and if there is any life. On your flight you only got about 40% of my surface so don't forget a variety of cameras because you need to capture images from a distance and up close as well as my other side facing Neptune.

I really hope I see you in 2038!"

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