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2001 Edition -- Target 2: Rhea and Titan, Grade 9 to 12 Winner

2001 Edition -- Target 2: Rhea and Titan, Grade 9 to 12 Winner


Victoria Slaughter
Rhea and Titan
Rhea and Titan
Victoria Slaughter

12th Grade
University High School
Orlando, Fla.

Teacher: Danielle Miller


"I believe that the Cassini Solstice Mission should image Rhea and Titan, two of Saturn's moons. I think that the image taken from this mission would be the most interesting and informative out of the three targets. In contrast to the image that would be taken from Hyperion, this image will show detail of both Rhea and Titan, which are both equally unique. In addition to being a beautiful view of two distinctive moons, the image produced would be the most scientifically rewarding, as a detailed view of Rhea and Titan could give insight to the many mysteries of the moons.

First of all, there are many aspects of Titan that should be further explored. In many ways, Titan is more similar to a planet than a moon, since it is the only known object other than Earth to have stable lakes, rivers, and other large bodies of liquid. Because Titan has a dense atmosphere, it is difficult to view the surface. A detailed image would give us more information on the complicated and changing weather patterns, which are in some ways similar to the weather on Earth, and movement of clouds in Titan's atmosphere, as well as a possibly greater understanding of what is below it; these conditions give Titan the possibility of having microbial life forms.

While the interest for Titan comes from the liveliness of the moon with its changing weather, complex atmosphere and chemical composition, and unique surface, Rhea's importance mainly comes from its orbit and interaction with the magnetic field of Saturn. Unlike Titan, Rhea lacks an atmosphere and has a clearly defined edge, so an image from Cassini could help us gain a precise understanding of Rhea's orbit. There are still many questions about Rhea's surface and core; like Earth's moon, Rhea is covered in craters, and its internal structure is not well understood. More information on these topics may be found through the mission.

In conclusion, I believe that the best image for the Cassini Solstice mission would be of Saturn's moons Rhea and Titan because it would give us a beautiful view of two interesting moons along with a greater understanding of them. Titan's unique surface and possibilities are worth further exploration, and Rhea has many unknown aspects that could be better explained through the detailed image that Cassini would produce."