School: North London Collegiate School, Jeju
"Recently, scientists started to attempt a variety of space expeditions, which is decided extremely carefully, since materials and money are limited. Recently, Miranda, Triton, and Charon are considered a possible destination for future expeditions. Considering the possible scientific potential, the probability of success, and other major factors, Miranda will be the best option to send robotic spacecraft.
Miranda is a moon of Uranus, which is previously explored by NASA in 1986. This previous experiment makes an expedition to end successfully, as scientists already have the previous experience. However, it also means that Miranda still needs further scientific exploration, since it has been decades since the last exploration. Since 1986’s technology wasn’t developed nowaday’s, it is more likely to find something more interesting and accurate from the expedition.
Since Uranus is located closer than Neptune or Pluto, it is certain that the expedition will require less time and money. Each spacecraft demand thousands of dollars, so Miranda has a lower level of potential economic loss when the expedition fails. Moreover, NASA is already able to land on Miranda’s surface. This is also one of the major factors that will determine the exploration’s success, as the scientists already have engines that are able to travel to Miranda. Miranda is also located closest to Uranus, which can also enable the expedition of Uranus, as the scientists did in 1986.
As scientists don’t know everything about Miranda yet, there are still potential scientific discoveries in future expeditions. The size of Miranda also enables the expedition to end faster than other moons, as Miranda is 27 times smaller than Earth, while Triton is 4.7 times and Charon is 10 times smaller than Earth. Being smaller means that the time can be used more on analyzing the data or on more explorations.
Miranda finally has a larger scientific potential. As the 1986 expedition found out, the clearly divided surface of the Miranda is covered with ice and different types of rocks. The expedition can enable scientists to find out why did this happen and find if there are any metallic elements that enabled this unique combination. One of the interesting features of Miranda is that its other side, where the sunlight doesn’t reach, is not explored yet. The side that receives the sunlight is also explored for only one time in 1986, which expands the unidentified areas in Miranda. The composition of the Miranda surface, such as Carbonaceous material, could be also clarified by further explorations such as bringing samples or using cameras. As Miranda has more elements to observe, while being at the closest distance, it is the best option to send the robotic spacecraft.
Miranda’s strongest benefits are the previous exploration in 1986, high potential for success, and efficiency of exploration due to its size. In order to spend time efficiently as possible while finding new information in our solar system, Miranda will be the best option."