Ji Yun Han, Inhoo Choi

Year: 2015-16


Target: Jupiter

"There is potential to gain a great deal of knowledge about the solar system using satellites. Even though Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, there are still mysteries about its moons and its atmosphere as well. Callisto and Europa are moons that deserve further study and The Great Red Spot on Jupiter itself have mysteries that have yet to be solved. Focusing the Cassini-Huygens satellite on Jupiter and its surrounding area would yield the most benefits compared to any other target.

Studying Callisto will bring the most practical benefits to scientists compared to any other moon around Jupiter. Although scientists have thought it to be a relatively uninteresting moon, they have slowly discovered that it actually has characteristics which allow it to be possibly hospitable for life. This is primarily because of our speculation about its internal ocean, which may contain halophiles similar to those on Earth and its carbon dioxide atmosphere may also increase its chances for sustaining life. On top of this, its low radiation levels make it an ideal candidate for colonization as well. Its potential as a base in the future and its potential for life make Callisto an ideal candidate for further analysis by the Cassini Solstice Mission.

The Great Red Spot, a type of hurricane on Jupiter that has been going on for centuries, has remained mysterious. Though we understand some characteristics about it, such as its stable latitude, its general movements are still not understood. Not only are scientists unsure about how long it has lasted, they are still even unsure of whether it is a permanent fixture in the first place. Weather patterns and hurricanes on Earth also behave similarly compared to The Great Red Spot. Observations using the Cassini-Huygens satellite will better our understanding of The Great Red Spot and improve our understanding of Earth as well.

Europa, which is made of silicate rock and water-ice crust, has characteristics which make it a possible habitat for life. It possibly contains an internal ocean and it also has similar geological activity as Earth's tectonic plates.. On top of this, it contains a thin oxygen atmosphere. These unique characteristics increase Europa's habitability for life compared to other parts of the solar system. Since they allow for photosynthesis and respiration to occur, which are the most efficient processes for organisms to create energy, scientists consider Europa to be one of the most likely places for life to exist. Research into Europa may bring scientists closer to discovering extraterrestrial life due to its water and oxygen.

Jupiter and its surrounding area require further study by scientists due to their fascinating characteristics which are found nowhere else. While studying Callisto and Europa may lead to the discovery of extraterrestrial life, analyzing the Great Red Spot may lead to an improved understanding of it and similar weather conditions on Earth. Studying Target 2 will benefit the Cassini Solstice Mission and the general goals of space exploration which far exceed any other possible target."

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