School: Christ Nagar International School
City: Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Neil Armstrong once said, "Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man’s desire to explore." Charon, a mysterious moon is around half the size and one-eighth the mass of its planet, Pluto. The duo is sometimes considered a double-dwarf planetary system. Charon orbits Pluto every 6.4 earth days, which is also equivalent to Pluto’s rotation period. Here are some of Charon’s features which make me want to explore it.
Charon’s surface is made of water ice, unlike Pluto’s surface which is made of nitrogen and methane ice. Due to ammonia and water crystals present on the surface, there is also suspected cyrovolcanic activity which is yet to be confirmed. Charon has several canyons, the deepest of which, Agra chasm is estimated to be 9 kilometres deep and could have cliffs that could be the tallest cliffs in the Solar system. We still don’t know yet, since these cliffs have never been explored by spacecraft.
Humans have only observed one side of Charon. It is possible that the other side harbours life or may have the beginnings of it. It is likely that life had existed on Charon before mankind or even life on earth as we know it existed. Life could already exist here, but lack of exploration has kept this from our knowledge.
We have spent years trying to find another planet that harbours life, a hypothetical ‘second earth’. We have looked far beyond our solar system, never once have we speculated that a moon and that too in our own solar system could be this ‘second earth’. I feel that this very prospect of finding life in the solar system is a compelling reason to explore Charon."