Izgi TULUNAY, Yasemin YÜKSEL and Begüm D KER

Year: 2015-2016

School: Kadikoy Anatolian High School

Teacher: Metin Tevetoglu

Grade: 10

City: Kad köy - Istanbul


Target: Jupiter

Humanity has always had the desire to expose the unknown, especially space which is still a total mystery even with 21st century technology. Scientists have taken a huge step to reveal the mystery by sending Cassini spacecraft that accomplished diversified explorations during the past 11 years. We were given three of these explorations to choose the option that would give us the best scientific result compared to other two targets. We decided to choose Target 2 because learning more about exoplanets may give us the chance to find the answers to some of the biggest enigmas, that human race have been trying to solve from the ancient times, like "Are we alone?" or "What are the mysteries that lay behind Solar System and therefore other systems?"

We only have the chance to record the immediate data by limiting our research field with Solar System but if we take a look at further places we can observe younger and older systems too. Imagine observing our hypotheses about Solar System directly and the difference it would make. So, a benefit of observing exoplanets is getting information about Solar System's and planets' former and future phases.

More than 10 billion of Sun-like stars that exist in Milky Way, if we include planets orbiting the numerous red dwarfs this number raises to 40 billion, are thought to harbor their own Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone and this leads us to interrogate the extra-terrestrial life in exoplanets. Just like Kepler brought forward in 17th century, nothing is exclusive. Regarding to this expression it would be a wrong assumption to think life as a special thing that only exists on our planet. So, another benefit of observing exoplanets could be finding an answer to our question; "Are we alone?"

Jupiter is a special planet. Besides all of its unique characteristics, it has lots of similarities with exoplanets which is quite important for us because we are planning to observe Jupiter as if it was an exoplanet. But what are the reasons of choosing Jupiter for this observation? According to scientists, Jupiter-like exoplanets are the easiest ones to sight and make inferences. Hot Jupiters and recently discovered Young Jupiter are the best evidences of this statement.

So where does Cassini spacecraft get involved? Although capturing Jupiter from miles away has already been done by Voyager 1, re-doing this mission by Cassini spacecraft would provide us more qualified images and with the help of these images we would be able to look from a different perspective and get closer to achieve our goals we mentioned above.

To sum up detecting exoplanets and finding accurate information about them is a hard work. Any kind of clue that we can get is a gain. We believe Target 2 has more importance and priority comparing other two targets. In our opinion, if we want to yield the best scientific results then Target 2 is the one that has to be chosen among the three options.

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