Shreya Swaminathan

Grade: 5

School: Hawthorn Elementary South

Teacher: Srilakshmi Narayanamurthy

City: Vernon Hills, Illinois

Topic: Titania

Titania is the largest moon of Uranus and the eighth largest in the solar system, which makes it an interesting celestial body to study.

The surface of Titania comprises numerous fault lines indicating tectonic activity in the past. There are canyons and valleys along the length of the moon, some of which are longer than the Grand Canyon on earth. The rock layers on the canyons can help scientists understand the moon’s past.

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Due to Titania’s axial tilt, it is subjected to an extreme seasonal cycle, with each season lasting 42 years. Imagine living in a cold winter on earth that lasts for 42 years! It is also due to this equatorial tilt that one of the poles lies in almost complete darkness for this duration. Titania is tidally locked with its host planet, thereby allowing only one side to face Uranus always. While the Voyager spacecraft has taken pictures of the near side of Titania, it will be interesting to know if the far side also has a similar topography.

Future explorations could collect and return samples of rock and minerals back to earth so that scientists can study them. Our Universe is a rich treasure trove of minerals some of which are not even present on earth. Since Titania has traces of organic carbon compounds and water ice, it could be interesting to learn if lifeforms exist or once existed in these cold realms of the solar system. Even though Titania is not in the ‘Goldilocks’ zone, it could be an ideal candidate in the search for alien life.

The frontiers of space exploration are infinite and we have just begun to scratch the surface. Above all, a mission to Titania could help to get closer to answering mankind’s greatest question, “Are we alone?”

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