2020-21 New Zealand Winner, Grade 7-8 - Topic: Oberon
School: Southland Girls' High School
It is 2039; I’m retreating from Oberon, the tidally locked outermost satellite in the Uranian system. My journey coincided with an equinox.
Using the gravity assist from Jupiter, I achieved research before my heat energy wore out from radioactive decay.
I obtained measurements from my atmospheric probe with Oberon orbiting outside the magnetosphere. The low bond albedo investigation was intriguing.
Voyager’s images allowed 25% of the surface to be geologically mapped. My photos show evidence of cryovolcanic activity , where liquid and vapour material trapped under the surface has escaped and become frozen.
What inspired me on this journey was using my dust detector to gather more data on the red material on the hemispheres. Impact events and charged particle bombardment eject dust from surfaces into orbit, which slowly moves inward. A combination of solar wind and micrometeorite impacts create dust. Oberon being furthest out, encounters the red cloud before it moves inwards, not escaping Uranus gravity.
One hope was that I would find information on the chasmata, the deep, elongated depressions that cross the landscape. My data on the dark patches at the craters’ base will allow NASA to answer the debate. Did these patches come from volcanic activity or from impact events that have surfaced dark material from below the ice?
Likewise, the data will help NASA explore the likelihood of a subsurface ocean in the icy mantle and the rocky core. This insight is possible because my magnetometer detected salt particles in the water and conduction, creating a magnetic field. I have followed contamination protocols as part of my astrobiology exploration .
Ehara Taku toa it te toa takitahi,engari he toa takitini.
My strength is not as an individual but as a collective.
Congratulations, NASA, on assigning me to the remote location to ensure Oberon is understood.