Victor Lucian Dragomir - 500 white background

Victor Lucian Dragomir

School: Ion Luca Caragiale National High School

City: Ploiesti

Topic: Ariel

"Ariel is the 4th largest satellite of the 27 known moons of Uranus, having a diameter of over 1,162 km (722 miles) and an orbit with a radius of over 190,000 km (118,060 miles). From all of Uranus’s moons I consider that this one presents the most characteristics, properties and mysteries for a mission to be sent there.

Large quantities of water ice have been detected on the surface. Being porous, it transmits little solar heat to the layers below. The water ice absorption bands are stronger on the leading hemisphere than on the trailing hemisphere. The cause of this asymmetry may be related to bombardment by charged particles from Uranus’s magnetosphere, but it is not known for sure.

Besides water, the largest quantity of CO2 from all of Uranus’s satellites was discovered on Ariel. It is thought that this would be produced by organic materials under the influence of the energetic charged particles coming from Uranus’s magnetosphere or solar ultraviolet radiation, but we are not certain yet.

Ariel’s surface seems to be the youngest of all the satellites of Uranus. It is also believed that it had the most recent geological activity from Uranus’s big satellites. From all of Uranus’s moons, Ariel’s surface is the brightest, reflecting about a third of the received sunlight, especially when it is in opposition, indicating that its surface is porous, casting reflectivity-decreasing shadows when illuminated at other angles. This is another curious thing that is worth studying because it can help to determine how the moon came to be and the events that led to its current form.

For all these reasons, I am convinced that Ariel is the perfect target for a space mission."

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