Follow this link to skip to the main content

2011 Edition -- Target 1: Hyperion, Grade 7 and 8 Winner

2011 Edition -- Target 1: Hyperion, Grade 7 and 8 Winner


Graham Doering
Hyperion
Hyperion
Graham Doering

7th Grade
Centennial Middle School
Phoenix, Ariz.

Teacher: Jon Hutman


"In September 2011, NASA scientists began using the spacecraft, Cassini to take high definition photographs of three targets: 1: Hyperion, 2: Rhea and Titan, and 3: Saturn. If Cassini were only able to photograph one of these targets, I think the one that would provide the best, most interesting data is Hyperion. I think it should be chosen for the following three reasons.

The first reason to photograph Hyperion is to discover what causes its rogue behavior. It does not orbit in a predictable way. It also tumbles instead of glides. This behavior is different than the other targets. Could it be possible that one of the meteors that crashed into it was magnetic, disrupting its gravitational pull? Meteors may also be the cause of the next reason to photograph Hyperion.

The second reason that I think Hyperion would be the most interesting target is because of its unusual shape. It is the largest known oddly shaped body in the solar system. It makes people wonder if it has always looked this way, like a giant porous sponge. Could it have been part of a larger moon? Maybe it was a full-size moon before the bombardment of meteors. It looks like a giant sponge because of reason number three.

The third reason to photograph Hyperion is because of its interesting deep craters. Scientists believe that these craters were also caused by meteors, but no one really knows for sure. Hyperion's strange reddish color is caused by frozen water and other molecules the craters contain. A lot of moons do not contain any water at all. What makes Hyperion so different? Perhaps photographing it would explain some of the mystery.

I think each of the three targets would be interesting to photograph, but the most interesting is Hyperion. Its orbit and shape are unique and it has so many unusual craters filled with frozen water. It would be fascinating to be able to take a closer look."