Juhyeon Lee

Juhyeon Lee

City: Seoul

Topic: Titania

Titania, also called Uranus III, is the largest of the moons of Uranus and was discovered by William Herschel in 1787. It was named after the queen of the fairies in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by Shakespeare. Most of the knowledge of Titania is gained from the mission of Voyager 2 in 1986. Titania is the moon that gives enough attraction to wish to travel back for the following reasons: the presence of water, carbon dioxide, possible presence of ocean and unknown reason of asymmetry within the moon.

Titania and Ariel share similar composition but Titania is much larger than Ariel. Titania has a diameter of 980 miles while Ariel has 719 miles. Some call Titania ‘dirty ice balls’ because of its resemblance of a ball of ice mixed with dirt and rock.

Titania 312

With density of 1.71 g/cm3, it is composed of about half water ice and half rocky material. Infrared spectroscopic observations supported the presence of water ice and rocky material could be composed of rock and carbonaceous material including heavy organic compounds. This is very interesting because of many factors needed for life to be supported, it has few factors, water and carbon. The infrared spectroscopic observations revealed that water ice absorption bands are stronger on Titania’s leading hemisphere than on the trailing hemisphere. The reason of the symmetry is unknown but few suspect that it could be due to the explosion of charged particles from the magnetosphere of Uranus. Carbon dioxide is also confirmed to exist, supported by infrared spectroscopy and it is concentrated on the trailing hemisphere. The existence of water and carbon dioxide is intriguing enough for one to travel back to Titania, as it makes one ponder whether other organic compounds and others that is needed for life could be identified. Additionally, the fact that there is asymmetry of water ice absorption bands is very attractive for one to gain additional data to figure out why this occurrence happened.

It is conjectured that Titania is differentiated into a rocky core surrounded by an icy mantle. With the current state of icy mantle unknown, should it contain enough ammonia or other antifreeze, it is possible that Titania has a subsurface ocean at the core-mantle boundary. However, it is impossible to make any conclusion due to very limited knowledge on Titania’s thermal theory that decides the internal structure of it. This is another reason for one to wish to travel back to Titania, to be able to study the internal structure and discover whether a subsurface ocean exists.

Titania is a fascinating moon that gives interesting characteristics. The existence of water and carbon are similar to other moons but the unknown reason of asymmetry within Titania, undetermined existence of a subsurface ocean and ammonia or other antifreeze gives enough intriguing factors for one to travel back and discover.

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