Diana Jula

Diana Jula

School: "Tudor Vianu” National High School of Computer Science

City: Bucharest

Topic: Miranda

"Mankind is searching to develop its technology and for that it needs materials and substances that have new physical and chemical properties, that allow to better operate information and energy while at the same time decreasing dimensions. Having set this present goal, I would choose to approach Miranda, the Moon of Uranus as next exploring target. Furthermore, another most exciting point is that half of it is still unknown.

Artist's rendering of Voyager 2 and Miranda
The lower gravity of Miranda makes it easy to land on and to move on its surface. The varied landscape and also the “coronae” make it extremely interesting from the point of view of potentially new, previously undiscovered materials and substances with high potential for finding elements that our current technology on Earth might benefit from. I expect that, because of the way its surface looks, as if it is pieced together from different parts, that this means there is a high probability that this Moon has the greatest variety of materials and substances in the same place. Therefore, an exploring mission on Miranda would generate the opportunity of accessing and exploring more materials in one single mission. A high number of different experiments could be run during one single mission.

It would also be a challenge as well for the engineers to build rovers and vehicles to drive on such a varied landscape. Such rovers could be later used on other missions if they prove to be successful on such challenging landscape. The small size of Miranda (27x smaller than Earth) makes it easier to fully explore in a shorter amount of time, compared with other Moons. A Moon fully explored is more interesting than more exploring missions to several Moons but not covering them completely. To the exploring spacecraft of the next mission, I would attach the following instruments: spectrometer, drilling equipment, robotic arm for grabbing objects, gas diagnosis micro laboratory, and a powerful electronic microscope (to run micro analysis on the spot).

Looking at both Triton and Charon, it seems to me that both of them have several disadvantages that make them inappropriate for an immediate mission. Triton has similar elements as found in other moons that are more accessible. Also, the fact that it orbits in the opposite direction of its planet's rotation, would mean that all landing, navigation and communication systems on an exploring spacecraft would have to be designed specifically for this situation which is not met in other Moons. Additional investment in such equipment will be required that will be applied only for Triton, fact that will increase the costs for a Triton mission. Charon is placed very far away from Earth, compared to the two other Moons, therefore I will not consider it as a good choice for the time being as next exploring mission. Exploring Charon will take similar time to prepare the mission as in case of Miranda but the traveling time up to this moon will be higher.

In conclusion, I would approach Miranda as next exploring mission."

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