Muhammad Muzzamil

Muhammad Muzzamil

Grade: 6

School: GEMS Westminster School

City: Sharjah

Topic: Triton


"As we look upon the night sky, we unavoidably start to wonder… “Are we alone in the universe or not?”

To answer this question NASA has sent many probes and spacecrafts to different planets and moons and have found three promising options: Marinda, Moon of Uranus; Triton, Moon of Neptune; and Charon, Moon of Pluto. I think we should learn more about Neptune’s largest moon, Triton. Triton was discovered on Oct. 10, 1846 by British astronomer William Lassell, only 17 days after Neptune itself was discovered. Neptune, like the other gas giants in our solar system, doesn't have much of a solid surface to live on. But the planet's moon, Triton, could make an interesting place to set up a space colony. The moon’s surface consists of mostly frozen nitrogen, a mostly water ice crusts, an icy mantle and a substantial core of rock and metal with a surface area of 4.338 billion km, bigger than Mercury! Triton is very cold, -235°C, -391°F because of its low Albedo, 7-8.

Artist's view of Voyager 2 at Triton
Triton has a thin atmosphere made only up of nitrogen-rich dense Triton has a density about twice that of water. This is a higher density than that measured for almost any other satellite of an outer planet. And in one way, Triton might be like on of the other larger moons, Europa. Triton may have liquid water far under its surface, the building blocks of life, which means that there might be several life forms that we classify as aliens liven in those deep oceans. But we don’t know much about the moon even after Voyager 2 spacecraft saw it up close, but only took pictures of the southern side of Triton.

And that is where my design of a satellite comes in! I named it Vulture 1. Unlike Voyager 2, my satellite will orbit Triton at a distance of about 100 km above the surface. The satellite has many instruments and a good energy source and good use of it. It’s wight is about 2.0556 tonnes (with only few instruments removed). The satellite’s energy sources are: 2 big solar panels and a Radioisotope Thermoelectric generator. Here is how the energy source works: When the satellite is first launched from Earth, it will use the sun’s rays for energy (solar panels). But when the sun’s rays are too low, the satellite will use the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) for energy for replacement for the solar panels. Some of the instruments that are included are: Telescopic lens camera: Collects light to make output image brighter. The camera can see from very long distances, Inferred camera: Collects inferred images. Atmosphere measuring device

Surface examiner: Examines surface of Triton

Thermometer: To record the temperature

These instruments will help us gain more knowledge about Triton and its surface. I think we should use more time to study more about this natural satellite and gain knowledge about it. And then finally get the answer to humankind’s key question: “Are we alone in the universe or not?”

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