Zeynep TUNA

Year: 2015-2016

School: Darussafaka High School

Grade: 10

Teacher: Aynur Karabulut

City: Maslak - Istanbul


Target: Rings and Moons

"Cassini completed its initial four-year mission and the first extended mission seeking for remarkable discoveries of the beautiful Saturnian system, after Cassini had been launched in October 1997 with the European Space Agency's Huygens probe. The Cassini Solstice Mission is going to be the second extended mission of the spacecraft and on December third, Cassini will be in a perfect position to take an image of Saturn's rings and three of Saturn's moons Tethys, Enceladus and Mimas therefore in my opinion the mission should aim Target 1: Rings and Moons.

Firstly, Saturn's rings have always been the big mystery which makes the human kind seek for accurate answers through sufficient observations. Although the composition of the ring is partially enlightened, we still don't know how old these rings are.

Secondly, Enceladus was first discovered by William Herschel in 1789 and further information about the tiny and icy moon of Saturn was received by Voyager missions and the close flybys of Cassini. It has been discovered that this active moon is shooting an icy plume containing complex organic chemicals under its surface just like a geyser which is triggered by the volcanic activity. Moreover, Saturn's magnetosphere undergoing alterations in radio and auroral activity and rotation of the magnetic field is caused by the shooting of water from these geysers. Also, it was found that Saturn's beautiful rings, which were always the outstanding mystery of Saturn, is fed by the dust particles from micrometeoroid hits on the surface of Enceladus. Besides, Enceladus is kept warm by the tidal heating. All of these phenomena indicate a potential of life which is a remarkable reason of the continuation of the observation.

Thirdly, the other two icy moons of Saturn, Tethys and Mimas are still waiting to be discovered. Further information about the geological and cratering histories of these moons is expected to be found along with the present data. Also, the unique thermal features were recently discovered on Mimas.

I believe that Cassini spacecraft has the precise instruments for this purpose of enlightening the biggest series of mysteries of the Saturnian system which contributes to scientific history of the humanity brimful of expectations in the way of knowing the unknowns of this gigantic universe. We have to keep observing and accomplishing scientific advancements to fulfill this sole purpose of holding onto the answers. All these hypotheses of the rings and the moons of Saturn can come to an end through Cassini Solstice Mission. Another reason is the last close flyby of Enceladus has been completed with a sad goodbye and this is an important chance to get the answers we need. If Cassini Solstice Mission focuses on Target 1, I am sure that a lot of scientific results will be yielded about the composition and history of the Saturn's rings, the links of icy moons between each other and Saturn and lastly the activities of Enceladus that supports the missions of astrobiological potentials which the human kind has been yearning for so long. "

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