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International Edition Winners 2011: Pakistan, Target 1, 9-10

International Edition Winners 2011: Pakistan, Target 1, 9-10


Sara Zulfiqar
Hyperion
Hyperion
Sara Zulfiqar

10th Grade
Laurelbank Public School
Lahore, Pakistan




"Men's expectations to infinity and beyond have opened up a completely different yet strikingly similar space of creation and imagination. The human beings of today are not chained to Earth anymore. We have become the visionaries of tomorrow and have endless opportunities to prove our mettle. I have chosen the shot targeting Hyperion, an irregularly shaped moon of Saturn with its cratered surface and dark coloration. Having a density lower than that of other moons of Saturn and being covered by a thin layer of a strange dark material. Many questions regarding this positively unique moon are still to be answered. It is believed to be composed of water ice with a small amount of rocks. Is usable water really present on Hyperion?

Hyperion orientation in space is completely unpredictable. Will its orientation remain chaotic forever? What are the requirements for its stability? What if it collides with some other heavenly body during its chaotic rotation? What will be the impact of such a collision on Hyperion and the solar system as a whole? Past encounters with the moon have led the scientists to believe that it might have had a major collision with another body which blew part of the moon away. If this perception is true then which body? Why is Hyperion shaped like a sponge?

Hyperion is naturally reddish tint in colour. It is covered by a thin layer of a dark material. According to scientific theories, this material may be from Phoebe which had got past Lapetus. How the material did manage to deposit itself on Hyperion remains a wonder. What are the surface materials composed of, given the low density and albedo of the moon? What are the dark material and the underlying brighter material that fills many craters on this moon? What are the reasons behind the variation in brightness across its surface? Hyperion's different surface forms in comparison to the other moons of Saturn raises many questions which have yet to be answered satisfactorily. Hence the need for another expedition to this unique moon. What went wrong during its evolution resulting in its distinct characteristics as compared to the other moons of the planet Saturn?

Some of the images taken by Cassini reveal the formation of a mountain on Hyperion's surface called Hyperion's nose. Are there several other mountains on its surface? What are they composed of and what is led to their formation? Have there been incidents of landslides filling up the craters? The answers to these questions will help unfold many mysteries of the outer space. Cassini has already taken a significant number of images of this oddball. What is required now is a detailed study of its distinct surface, composition, orbit, evolution and numerous other factors to form a concrete opinion about this space wonder.

Our expeditions in the outer space have led us to believe in the existence of other worlds. This faith helped us form conclusions and have crossed boundaries which we once thought impossible."