Divyansh Garg

Divyansh Garg

Grade: 8

School: The Heritage School

City: Kolkata, West Bengal

Topic: Charon

"I was an innocent kid, when I learned about a new word “Stars.” Intrigued by those tiny little dots in the sky, I did more research into stars and other elements of the universe and an entire new world opened to me. Stars, planets, moons, so many things existed, that I wanted to know about.

In 2006, NASA launched the ‘New Horizons’ space probe, as part of the ‘New Frontiers’ program, a daring program to explore the worlds in our solar system. In 2015, the probe passed Pluto, and specifically the moon Charon, transmitting back images to the earth, which were ultimately published online.

Artist's view of New Horizon and Charon
​Charon is known for its huge body. Its size is almost half of that of Pluto. Also, the same side of Pluto and Charon always face each other. This is called mutual tidal locking. Due to its large body, it attracts Pluto making it wobbly. There are so many factors through which life can be possible on Charon. From Charon you can see Pluto bigger and much more details of Pluto can be seen. This is because the moon is only 19000km from Pluto. This is comparatively less when referred to the distance between a planet and its moon. Some people say that Pluto and Charon have formed a Solar System of their own. Pluto’s atmosphere contains Nitrogen, carbon monoxide and methane. These gases form tholins and other macromolecules in the darker region of North Pole of the icy moon. There are also some volcanoes on Charon from which dust and water erupt.

If I could send a spacecraft to Charon, I would really enjoy doing it. Like our moon, we can set up research stations in Charon. The spacecraft would try to monitor even the other side of Charon and try to search for life. From the spacecraft we can also conduct researches on Pluto alongside Charon. Although, it is impractical that there would be life on Charon under such freezing temperatures, tholins and other macromolecules formed by Nitrogen and methane from Pluto’s atmosphere are present. These gases can warm Charon. These maybe some traces of origin of life. Also, sea creatures like Hadal Amphipod can live 10000 metres under water. If these creatures can live under such a cold temperature and very high atmospheric pressure without the availability of sunlight, then why can’t there be life on Charon. Due to the presence of carbon in Charon, there can be coal mines. We can use the coal mines to replenish our sources. Carbon is one of the building blocks of life. I hope that through this mission, we get to know more about the origin of life. So, we can conclude that there are many factors on the availability of plantation, coal mines and life (maybe in primitive form) on Charon. I wish to learn about all these things through the mission. I hope that humanity could visit Charon one day."

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