Daksh Malhotra

Daksh Malhotra

Grade: 7

School: Utpal Shanghvi Global School

Topic: Triton

"Although all the three moons have their own noteworthy unique qualities, I settled on the Neptunian moon Triton. It inspires me to traverse the depths of space because of its striking similarities to Enceladus, Saturn’s moon which is thought to have an environment and suitable conditions to harbor life beneath it’s surface.

As of what we know at this time, Triton takes up 99.5% of Neptune’s moon system. It furthermore holds the positions of 16th largest object and 7th largest satellite in the solar system. It is also one of the volcanically active bodies in the solar system, with a number of cryovolcanoes which can erupt substances like water and ammonia.

Artist's view of Voyager 2 at Triton
The only probe to ever venture towards Triton was Voyager 2, which discovered geysers shooting out from the depths of the moon rising up to 8 km high. It also observed amounts of thiolins on the surface of Triton, which may be a sign of early life and an environment sustainable for life. Triton also has a strangely high albedo, which is the measure of how much light it reflects. As of Triton, its reflectivity is 65 – 90% which is a massive number compared to our own moon’s albedo, 11%.

Sending a probe to Triton would take a long time to build, but once completed, I would hope to find the presence of extra-terrestrial life, which could not necessarily be carbon-based, but could also possibly be silicon-based which are not known to exist…… as of now. If not, then it would be enthralling to explore the cryovolcanism and geysers on the moon’s surface alongside its geology and geological occurrences which we cannot observe closely from Earth.

A Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LRRI) could be implemented to observe high resolution data of Triton’s geological data from afar, along with a magnetometer to measure the magnetic field’s strength. I would also add two hazard avoidance cameras (Hazcams) at the front and back to prevent collisions with space debris that the probe would likely face during its journey to Triton. The probe would have infrared sensors as well to see through the thick ice on the surface and examine the liquid below thought to harbor life.

To conclude, I am hopeful of discovering something intriguing on Triton, thus I’ve decided to name the probe "ESPERER" ("Hope" in French)."

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