2020-21 Czech Republic Winner, Grade 7-8 - Topic: Ariel
School: Gymnázium Matyáše Lercha Brno
If I could send a space probe to one of many Uranus’ moons, I’d choose Ariel. Ariel consists equally of ice and denser non-ice components. The non-ice component could be some sort of rock with heavy compounds like theolins (carbon dioxide, methane or ethane - often in combination with water or N3).
When we talk about carbon dioxide (CO2), what is interesting about it on Ariel – we detect, that there’s the largest amount of it than on any other Uranian satellite! And also, Ariel is the first, on which we discovered carbon dioxide.
But the origin of the compound on Ariel is unknown. How is it possible that there is CO2? Well – we have some theories, but we’re not sure! One of them is that CO2 could be trapped inside of Ariel’s icy inside (as we know, Ariel is ice and rocks), and CO2’s escape could be related to past geological activity. Ariel’s surface also seems as the youngest one of all satellites’ and to me, that’s very interesting.
I’m curious about the leakage of theolins like carbon dioxide and methane. How does methane behave in other conditions?
Because of the climate crisis, we have to deal with the melting of permafrost in Siberia. In the ice, there’s frozen methane (and one methane compound is approximately 16 times worse than CO2) and if it gets into the atmosphere, the climate crisis will reach its climax. Earth would not be trying to fight the climate change, but would even accelerate the process.
We need to know how to stop it and also to do more research on how methane behaves in different conditions. And that’s why I think we should go to Ariel.