School: Andrei Saguna National College
The fascinating immensity and mystery of the Universe have always aroused us the curiosity and desire to transcend the limits of our planet. Let's follow this exploratory impulse, conquer the space, enriching so, with new meanings, the name of homo sapiens!
I believe that among the places outside the Earth that could make us achieve, due to the uniqueness of its astrophysical characteristics, new perspectives on the Solar System is Ariel, the brightest and most probably the youngest moon of Uranus. Why Ariel?
First, Ariel could provide us new and relevant information about its geological past. According to images obtained during the flight of the Voyager 2 spacecraft, from a morphological point of view, Ariel's surface contains craters, canyons, ridges terrain and plains. Are all of these the result of a cryovolcanic activity? Were also remarked zones of resurfacing, the disappearing of some large and old craters, phenomenon whose explanation is another enigma. What caused the smoothening of the canyon floors? Which is the origin of the deposits that its valleys are partly filled with? Is this a consequence of an endogenous warming process from the past?
If the cryovolcanism is confirmed, we would probably find out if Ariel hosts an underground ocean or ingredients for life. This would involve detecting, with the help of a spacecraft with a magnetometer, an induced magnetic field. In the event of a positive answer, Ariel could be added to the list of interesting worlds for astrobiologists.
Is there a connection between Ariel’s geology and the Uranian rings?
Ariel is unique and, with so many unanswered questions, worth to be discovered. A mission there would exponentially increase our understanding of one of the least studied planetary bodies, but also of the physics of space and some fundamental chemical processes in the Solar System.