Juhyun Kang, Junhyeok Kwak, Junseo Kwak

Year: 2015-16


Target: Rings and Moons

"Since its arrival to Saturn, the Cassini-Huygens satellite has been observing various celestial bodies and helped unravel many different mysteries about the solar system. Nevertheless, it has not fully analyzed the rings and moons of Saturn, specifically Enceladus and Tethys. Since these particular moons and rings will soon be in alignment, allowing the Cassini-Huygens satellite to analyze them simultaneously, NASA should prioritize targeting this section of Saturn.

Saturn's rings have many interesting yet still not well understood characteristics which deserve closer analysis using the Cassini-Huygens satellite. Even though its rings are Saturn's most distinctive characteristic, scientists remain oblivious to the complicated functions and specific compositions of the rings. In fact, it has only been very recently discovered that the rings have an atmosphere that interact with the surface of Saturn and actually produces rain. These speculations could be verified through the closer analysis of Saturn's rings using the Cassini-Huygens satellite. These further observations will broaden our understanding of both the rings and their interaction with Saturn.

Moreover, observing the moons of Saturn will allow us to have a greater understanding of their geology and their potential to contain extraterrestrial life. Scientists will be able to examine Enceladus, the sixth-largest and most interesting moon of Saturn, by analyzing this target. It is particularly significant because it is considered by many scientists to be the most likely place for extraterrestrial life to exist in the solar system. In fact, Enceladus has cyrogeysers that actually shoot water vapor into the atmosphere, even occasionally reaching past its atmosphere and into space. There are also a number of different elements there that are conducive to the possible development of life, such as a large internal water ocean.

Furthermore, this observation will enable further research on another moon of Saturn, the mysterious Tethys. Very little is known about this moon, other than the fact that it contains a large amount of water ice. The large amount of water ice that exists there could have potentially been liquid in the past and thereby making the chances of life existing there at some point actually possible. In addition, scientists do not know what other elements exist on the planet and the potential composition of those substances as well. By further analyzing this mysterious moon, scientists can answer these unsolved mysteries and learn about the various elements and possible life forms that may have existed there.

The Cassini Project would be best served by analyzing Saturn's rings and its surrounding moons. They contain the most promising candidates for further study because of its relatively higher chances of containing life and the mysterious nature of the different targets in the area. Using the Cassini-Huygens satellite to explore this particular area over others is essential towards enhancing our understanding of the solar system in general."

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