Year: 2015-2016

School: Esenevler Mah. Dr. Rüstem Eyübo lu

Grade: 11

Teacher: Müge Özgönül

City: Ümraniye / Istanbul


Target: Rings and Moons

"After watching the three videos, I am convinced that "Target 1" is the best choice. Saturn has mysterious and glamorous rings that are among the most discernible features in our solar system. The order of Saturn's rings is D, C, B, A, F, G and E. These rings consist of water ice, rock and dust. It lies in over hundred of thousand kilometers. Saturn's rings and the Saturn's moon, which is Enceladus, have many unsolved mysteries which would deepen our understanding of the conditions needed for water and ultimately our understanding of the conditions needed to support extra-terrestrial life. For these reasons that would be collected from the Saturn's rings and moons will enlighten the rings ages and if there is life in one of the moons of Saturn which is Enceladus. For that reason the data that would be collected from Saturn's rings and moons, would provide the most benefit for the Cassini Navigation Team.

There is an extra mass underground of Enceladus. The researchers made an argument that a subsurface ocean of liquid water, which is denser than ice, is the only reasonable candidate. Hence The Saturn's one of the moons, Enceladus, holds an enormous ocean of liquid water beneath its icy crust, which can support life. However, Enceladus is so far away from sun. Hence Enceladus needed to be a "frozen" moon but it has heat, which the scientist thought that it is coming from the inside of the Enceladus. It has long parallel cracks in the ice on Enceladus' south pole. This proved that Enceladus is a geologically active place. Over years researchers concluded the geysers could provide easy access for samplings the moon's subsurface oceans and if there is microbial life in it. The ice particles from the ocean could obtain the evidence of life.

Studies have shown geysers are composed of mostly of water vapor, tiny ice particles and small amounts of other material like silica grains. Further investigations, scientists have supposed that these silica grains are the result of hydrothermal activity on the ocean floor below Enceladus's icy crust. These grains were seen on Saturn's rings. Saturn's rings can be young because of the grains seen in Saturn's rings comes from a young aged, Enceladus moon.

Using mass spectrometers, we can detect amino acids and identify them. We can detect fatty acids found in the membranes of bacterial cell. In the case of Dione, there are not active cracks found on the surface, very similar to Enceladus. It would also provide more data to research the process of life. A second planet for comparison would make contemporary conclusions to be drawn about them.

Ultimately, people have great interest in planets, which can sustain life. Questions about the meaning of our existence and our place in the universe included that search which explains part of the reason for the rush to find one.

To conclude, I believe "Target 1" is the best choice because of its life-supporting potential. A larger data set increases our ability to find the answers the questions that we are looking for. Think of a headline like this: 'Life has found in Solar System.'"

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