Year: 2015-16


Target: Rings and Moons

"Saturn has many moons and a magnificent ring system, which have been quite mysterious for some time. In fact, Tethys, Enceladus, and Saturn's rings still have many unsolved mysteries which scientists have yet to answer. By further studying these targets, scientists can come to a better understanding of our universe and even our own planet as well. The Cassini satellite should now conduct additional research on Tethys, Enceladus, and Saturn's rings in order to yield the most interesting scientific results compared to any other target.

To begin with, Tethys is a good target for the Cassini satellite to analyze next. Though it mostly consists of ice, scientists have speculated that it actually may have had liquid water in the past. Also, not only do scientists not know what other elements are there, they also are puzzled about what accounts for its large amount of ice. The existing water ice on the moon should be analyzed to study more about its origins and also learn more about other elements there. Since many questions could be answered through further analysis, Tethys is an ideal candidate for further study.

Enceladus may be the most promising target for the Cassini satellite to analyze next because of its comparatively high possibility of life existing there compared to other bodies in the solar system. Studying it and its global salty ocean containing compositions of alkaline more closely for any signs of microorganisms could potentially be fruitful, since it could potentially be the habitat for life. Moreover, Enceladus has cyrovolcanoes which shoot jets of water vapor, which also shows more evidence of the kind of liquid water which could increase the chances of the development of life there. Another clue that Enceladus may contain life is the presence of tidal heating, which still remains a mysterious process to scientists. Therefore, these unique characteristics of Enceladus make it an obvious target for the Cassini satellite.

Saturn is a compelling candidate for the Cassini satellite because of the many questions that scientists still have about them. In fact, scientists are still unable to fully explain why these rings exist when the rings of other planets tend to dissolve. Furthermore, these rings and Saturn interact to create strange weather patterns which do not occur anywhere else. Much Earth's rain, Saturn's rings create precipitation which comes from its own atmosphere and cycle into the planet. By using the Cassini satellite to further investigate Saturn's rings, scientists could arrive to a better understanding of these processes and their interactions with the planet Saturn.

The further analysis of Tethys, Enceladus, and Saturn's rings using the Cassini satellite could potentially solve many unanswered questions that scientists have. While the analysis of Tethys and Saturn's rings will help scientists learn more about their mysterious qualities, the further study of Enceladus would certainly bring scientists closer to determining whether life exists there. Using the Cassini satellite to study these targets further will certainly bring us closer to a fuller understanding of the solar system."

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