Gabriel-Ioan Isbasoiu and Alexandra Elena Ontica
School: Mircea cel Bătrân National College
We are going to demonstrate why Titania is the best target for scientific discoveries, due to its characteristics compared to the other two satellites of Uranus, Ariel and Oberon.
The main reason why Titania is the perfect choice is its composition that might determine the existence of subsurface oceans, which can lead to the discovery of alien life. Titania consists of almost equal amounts of rock and ice in such a way that it forms a rocky core surrounded by an icy mantel. Although the state of the icy mantel is unknown, if the ice contains small amounts of salts or incorporated volatiles such as ammonia or methane, it is possible for oceans to exist in Titania's undergrounds, forming a barrier between the core and the mantel. Despite the fact that the composition of Ariel and Oberon has similar features, the temperature in Titania’s underground is higher, making it a more suitable environment for life forms.
Another factor that makes Titania the best destination is its location, having its orbit inside the Uranian magnetosphere. Therefore, unlike Oberon which orbits outside the magnetosphere, Titania is protected from the solar wind which makes the satellite easier to reach. Also, being the second farthest satellite from Uranus, Titania is not affected by as many charged particles from the magnetosphere as Ariel. The charged particles alter the physical properties of surface material through processes as sputtering the water ice which makes the surface unable to transmit solar heat as efficiently to the layers below. With that said, it is easier to reach the melting point of the antifreezes on Titania, which makes it more likely to maintain liquid water in its subsurface.
In conclusion, the location and composition of Titania makes it the best target for the discovery of life within a subsurface ocean.