2020-21 Bangladesh Winner, Grade 9-12 - Topic: Titania
School: Shaheed Bir Uttam Lt. Anwar Girls' College
"I imagine a flagship mission to the Uranus system in the upcoming years where an orbiter could contain a probe to explore a moon, as Huygens was in the Cassini mission. Provided that it takes many years to arrive there, we will want to yield the best value practically possible. The value here is determined roughly via the amount and quality of data we gain in related academic fields and how it might help us in the future missions and explorations. What can be better than to explore the largest moon: Titania?
Larger, denser moon yielding greater and tidal impacts with its parent planet can provide much clearer data on how these parameters affect a celestial body in the Uranian system. Its equatorial orbit lies completely within the magnetosphere of Uranus, resulting in some interesting effects on Titania.
Mainly made of water and ice, it’s quite similar to other major Uranian satellites. However, this satellite has more variant geological (craters, faults, grabens) and surface features compared to other proposed candidates. Thus we will be able to deduct more accurate information about the inner layer and its formation process and periods, possibly even a sub-surface ocean.
The only picture of the moon was captured ~35 years ago during Voyager 2’s flyby of the planetary system, when the northern part mostly remained in the dark. Since Uranus orbits the sun on its side, Titania’s northern and southern poles experience a harsh seasonal cycle, remaining either under sunlight or in darkness for 42 years. So less than half of the celestial body was imaged and only a portion of that could be geologically mapped. However, a passage of significant time brings forth a golden opportunity to discover major information about the northern hemisphere. And for such fascinating features, I find Titania most intriguing."