Year: 2015-16

School: Kuen Cheng High School

State: Kuala Lumpur


Target: Rings and Moons

"It has been curiosity that prompts men to learn about the gorgeous Saturn. Our thirst for knowledge about this planet is never fulfilled. Perhaps we can proudly declare that we are intelligent enough to send sophisticated space probes to space, but still, there are many intriguing phenomenon happening in the Saturnian system yet to be answered.

The attractive rings of Saturn have always been human's interest. Simple facts about this region are widely known, but its origin remains as a question. How old are these dust, ice and rocks? Is it possible to estimate their age? Through what method can the mystery be resolved?

Recently astronomers are baffled by the occurrence of 'spokes' in the B-ring. We understand that dust, ice and rocks that make up the rings orbit around Saturn in a way such that the inner rings has a higher velocity than the outer ones. This creates a seemingly peaceful rotation around the planet. However, the formation of these "spokes" seems to defy Kepler's Law. It seems that an unknown force is exerted on these particles, aligning them. How can this happen? Might it be under the influence of the planet's magnetic field? Should it be related to the giant thunderstorms on Saturn? With so many questions raised, this non-periodical happening is worth an investigation.

Besides, we are concerned about Enceladus, an icy moon of Saturn. Its surface is mostly covered by ice with a liquid ocean in beneath. Evidences of tectonic activities are found because there are grooves and ridges on the surface. However, this moon has fractures called "tiger stripes" on it. Strangely enough, the chemical compositions of the stripes are different from other locations on the moon. Also, water has consistently been ejected into the space around Saturn, solidified, forming the E-ring of the planet. As Cassini space probe is gradually approaching the center of Saturnian system, it may pass through the E-ring. It is an opportunity to collect and analyse the components using Cassini's instruments onboard like Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA). Knowing their compositions may give us clues on the types of compounds found in the ocean of Enceladus, besides finding out the existence of life.

Tethys is one of Saturn's brightest moons. Despite its relative calmness, red "tiger stripes" are detected on its surface. Why would this happen? Is it similar to that of Enceladus? Knowing that these regions are of higher temperature, is there any tectonic activities taking place?

Having a huge impact crater on its surface named Herschel, Mimas is unique too. The crater has spread approximately one-third the diameter of Mimas. Such impact should have shattered the moon but it actually survived. It is interesting for a look-into.

In accordance to the unsolved mysteries above, we strongly recommend that Target 1 to be selected. Cassini space probe in its mission to study the Saturnian system can thus accomplish its task by collecting much information and revealing more facts before vanishing into the always-awesome Saturn."

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