20-21 destinations are: Uranus' Moons - Ariel, Oberon and Titania

Your assignment is to study three of Uranus' moons: Ariel, Oberon, and Titania. Then, choose the one you think would be the best place to return with another spacecraft someday.


We have little information available on the moons of Uranus, but the details we have discovered thus far make these mysterious moons an appealing target for exploration.

This is not a new scenario for scientists: Often, they are in a position of knowing just enough about a topic to know more exploration is needed, and they must make the case to their peers and funders for this exploration. Exploring the moons of Uranus is a real case – one that has not yet been decided – for which scientists must make an argument.


TOPIC 1: ARIEL

We only know what half of Uranus' moon Ariel looks like: the half that was facing Voyager 2 during its historic flyby. The rest is a complete mystery. Credit: NASA Visualization Technology Applications and Development. Download Options ›

All of Uranus' larger moons, including Ariel, are thought to consist mostly of roughly equal amounts of water ice and silicate rock. Carbon dioxide has also been detected on Ariel.

Ariel's surface appears to be the youngest of all the moons of Uranus. It has few large craters and many small ones, indicating that fairly recent low-impact collisions wiped out the large craters that would have been left by much earlier, bigger strikes. More on Ariel ›


Topic 2: Oberon

We only know what half of Uranus' moon Oberon looks like: the half that was facing Voyager 2 during its historic flyby. The rest is a complete mystery. Credit: NASA Visualization Technology Applications and Development. Download options ›

Oberon is the second largest moon of Uranus. It is heavily cratered, especially when compared to Ariel and Titania. Like all of Uranus' large moons, Oberon is composed of roughly half ice and half rock. Oberon has at least one large mountain that rises almost 4 miles (about 6 kilometers) off the surface. More on Oberon ›


Topic 3: Titania

We only know what half of Uranus' moon looks like: the half that was facing Voyager 2 during its historic flyby. The rest is a complete mystery. Credit: NASA Visualization Technology Applications and Development. Download options ›

Titania is Uranus' largest moon, about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) in diameter. It has a prominent system of fault valleys, some nearly 1,000 miles (about 1,600 kilometers) long. Deposits of highly reflective material, which may represent frost, can be seen along the Sun-facing valley walls. More on Titania ›


Voyager 2 Flies by Uranus: See Ariel, Oberon, and Titania in context in the Uranus system, the way the Voyager 2 saw them in 1986 - courtesy of NASA's Eyes on the Solar System software. Credit: NASA Visualization Technology Applications and Development.

A fun video about Uranus' tilt Not all planets are tilted the same way. Find out how Uranus' tilt puts it in a league all its own.
video about Voyager at Uranus Voyager 2: First Spacecraft at Uranus (Excerpt on Uranus from "The Grand Tour.")

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