School: Fish Hoek High School,
City: Cape Town
Charon, the largest of Pluto’s five moons was discovered in 1978 by astronomer James Christy who observed that the photos of Pluto were oddly elongated. The frigid surface of Charon is covered with nitrogen ice and methane, even though the main mass is made up of mostly ice it is speculated that it may have a rocky core. The possibilities of life on this icy waste land is low considering its distance from the sun, however recent studies have raised the question of living organisms on Charon.
I think the thing that excites me most about Charon is the pure size of it. If it wasn’t orbiting Pluto it would be classified as its own dwarf planet. In fact, Charon is so big that it pulls on Pluto making it wobble slightly. Since we’ve never actually landed on Charon it’s hard to say what lies beneath the surface of this far away land, but in reality we know so little about the universe we live in, who’s to say there isn’t a huge secret hiding under the ice of this barren and frozen moon?
Charon would be a great candidate for further exploration and I’m excited to see where it will take us in the future. Space may be big, dark and scary but with science and the knowledge we have lighting our way its only a matter of time before we take our next step in bettering our understanding of this universe we call home."