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International Edition Winners 2011: Pakistan, Target 2, 5-6

International Edition Winners 2011: Pakistan, Target 2, 5-6


Momin Imran
Rhea and Titan
Rhea and Titan
Momin Imran

5th grade
Roots School System Emaar Campus
Islamabad, Pakistan




"Rhea was named after Greek mythology. RHEA was the Titanis mother of the gods, and a goddess of female fertility, motherhood, and generation. Her name means ‘Tow and ease’. As the wife of Kronos (Time), she was also a goddess of comfort and ease; a blessing reflected in the common Homeric phrase ‘the gods who live at their ease (rhea)’.

In myth, Rhea was the wife of the Titan Kronos and Queen of heaven.

Nearly as large as Mars and possessing an atmosphere thicker than Earth’s, Titan would unquestionably be considered a planet if it orbited the Sun on its own. When scientists first began to understand what that atmosphere was made of – primarily nitrogen, with a large component of methane and significant quantities of more complex organic molecules – they quickly realized that Titan would be a place where liquid methane or ethane could be raining from the skies. Thanks to Cassini-Huygens it is now known that Titan is a youthful planet whose surface is modified and its impact craters erased by the action of flowing liquids and possibly even a methane cycle of cloud formation, rain, runoff, and evaporation, akin to Earth’s water cycle.

Rhea is the largest of Saturn’s medium-sized icy moons. From a distance, Rhea looks similar to Tethys with its wispy grooves and flat-floored craters. Close up.

Titan

I believe that target 3, Saturn’s moon Titan, would be of the most scientific value. This is because titan, although a moon, actually appears more like a planet it is very similar to earth, and scientists have commented on how this moon resembles what earth may have looked like in its early stages. This is important because any information about titan could lead to a greater understanding of our own existence.

Titan is similar to earth in many ways; it has large stable bodies of surface liquid, its climate creates surface features, such as sand dunes and shorelines, titan also has seasons and weather patterns and a robust nitrogen atmosphere which are quite similar to earth. All of these similarities with our planet make this moon important, and surely indispensable in furthering the understanding of ourselves.

Titan’s atmosphere consists of mostly of nitrogen and its climate includes methane clouds, it has also been discovered that there are liquid hydrocarbon lakes on titan. This coupled with its prominent similarity to earth means that titan has been heralded as a possible host for microbial life. Scientists believe that titan will at least be a place which is rich in complex organic molecules. Titan is therefore of extreme interest, not just to scientists, but to everyone, as the understanding of titan may lead to further understanding of the world around us. Not only this, but to discover life outside our own planet, even in the form of microbes, would be an astounding discovery, and would lead to many other discoveries."