Grade: 10

School: D.A.V Public School

City: Amritsar, Punjab

Topic: Oberon

Oberon is pertinent for exploration to unravel underlying cosmic mysteries. It possibly possesses a liquid ocean layer at the core-mantle boundary because its icy mantle is likely to contain ammonia or other antifreeze compounds. The ocean is assumed to support hydrothermal vents on its floor, leading to the possibility that life may exist in small patches near the core. Geographical features like canyons and large amount of craters have been observed on its surface, suggesting that Oberon may be one of the older moons orbiting Uranus. The spacecraft which would be sent for its exploration should include an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer containing an imager with high resolution to determine fine scale elemental composition of its surface, permitting more detailed detection and analysis of chemical elements.


Another intriguing reason to delve into exploration of Oberon is its atypical orbit which is partially outside Uranus’s magnetosphere. The spacecraft should analyse the effect of solar wind on the trailing side and magnetosphere on the leading side of the moon giving an insight into magnetospheric plasma interactions. Oberon’s water ice absorption bands are stronger on the trailing hemisphere than on the leading hemisphere, opposite of what is observed on other moons of the planet. The spacecraft to be sent should discover the cause of this nonconformity. Oberon appears the reddest moon amongst its peers due to bombardment of charged particles. Its trailing hemisphere is significantly redder than its leading hemisphere. The cause and effects of this colour asymmetry should be examined by the spacecraft.

Being one of the older moons, Oberon acts as a time capsule showcasing what molecules originally existed in our solar system and what chemistry is possible in the universe. With this information scientists would have the initiation needed to reconstruct the complex pathway that got life started on Earth.

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