Samridhya Sarkar

Grade: 10

School: Wordbridge School

City: Dhaka

Topic: Ariel

"Ariel is a remarkable celestial body to explore, for I believe there lie answers to two great mind-boggling questions.

To begin with, a search for extraterrestrial alien life has always excited mankind and this particular moon has some of the fundamental prerequisites required for life to be present. Other than water, carbon dioxide detected on Ariel is the strongest according to spectroscopy measurements compared to other Uranian moons. A paper by Stephanie Olson and her colleagues at the University of California has put some interesting light on how seasonal changes in the atmosphere caused by life could be used as a biosignature. They found that the seasonal carbon dioxide signal would be dominated by land-based ecosystems, which are in direct contact with the atmosphere, indicating that CO₂ variability might not be detectable in the ocean worlds. As seen on Earth, the CO₂ variability in the Northern Hemisphere is greater than in the ocean-dominated Southern Hemisphere. Thus, although the existence of land-based creatures on Ariel is an electrifying thought, it remains a possibility based on a scientific hypothesis.

Another breath-taking question is how Ariel gets its heat. Icy moons like Ariel loses heat pretty quickly. Yet Ariel sustains a significantly high temperature. Is it from tidal heating? From the data we have, we can conclude that the Uranian moon does not have any orbital resonance to make the orbits more elliptical rather than being round. As a result, tidal heating must not be present as the orbits do not have any irregular shapes. The heat from radioactive isotopes and accretion is lost relatively quickly from the equal composition of water, ice, and rock. A mysterious source of heat, one that is yet to be uncovered by future expeditions, must be lurking somewhere on Ariel."

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