Gigi Stewart and Bryan Wong

Gigi Stewart and Bryan Wong

Grade: 8

School: Mounds Park Academy

Teacher: John Milam

City: St Paul, Minnesota

Topic: Miranda


"Humans are driven to explore. To question. To wonder. Wishing to further our understanding of the universe beyond Earth. So that someday, the impossible might just become possible. That’s why we have organizations like NASA. That’s why we make going into space possible. For several years, NASA has made many journeys to space. We have these missions to feed the human spirit. There’s so much we don’t know. And so much that we have yet to figure out.

Artist's view of Voyager 2 at Miranda
​Miranda, the fifth largest moon of Uranus. Some would refer to it as the Frankenstein moon. Many speculations have been made about how the moon came to be. But we don’t truly know for sure. With a variety of textures, grooves, craters, and fractures coating its surface, you cannot help but ask, “How were those created? Would it be the same on the other side of Miranda? Or would it be different?” We won’t know unless we look deeper. This unusual discovery is something worth learning more about.

Picture being on Miranda. Look at the scenery all around you. When you look up, you see the endless void of space. With millions upon millions of stars gleaming around. With cliffs reaching about sixty-five thousand feet and fault canyons that are twelve times deeper than the Grand Canyon. It seems like a fantasy. But it could become a reality. So, now I ask you: isn’t this picture of you on Miranda, something worth exploring? How did this unusual landscape come to be? What could have created heights that tall? So many questions and not enough answers. Miranda has many more interesting landscapes on its surface compared to Earth.

By sending a satellite out to Miranda, learning more about this mysterious moon can become possible. Equipped with the best, most suitable instruments for the journey. With Ralph, a clear and red imager/spectrometer, the satellite would provide colored images and thermal maps of Miranda. It would also reveal what the moon is made of. Accompanying Ralph would be LORRI. The long-range reconnaissance imager, or LORRI, is a telescopic camera. It provides high-resolution geologic data. Ralph and LORRI are two types of imagers with their own sets of skills. By studying in-depth photos of Miranda, we would have a better understanding of what kind of moon Miranda is. We would learn what the other side of the moon looks like. Discover more about what is on the surface. A lot can come from a few simple images. More instruments will come along with these magnificent instruments on their journey, but we thought it best to highlight these two the most.

We're building the next chapter in human exploration, so, why don’t we start it off with something worthwhile? Miranda. Discovered by Gerard P. Kuiper on February 16, 1948, at the McDonald Observatory in western Texas. Miranda is waiting for us out there. All you need to do is choose Miranda."

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