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International Edition Winners 2012: Pakistan, Grade 7-8, Target 1

International Edition Winners 2012: Pakistan, Grade 7-8, Target 1


Mohammad Obaid Hassan Khan
Pan
Target 1, Pan
Mohammad Obaid Hassan Khan

School: Headstart School System, Clifton Campus
7th Grade


"Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun. It is a giant planet like Jupiter but is the second largest planet in the Solar System. It is a ringed planet with seven main rings and hundreds of other rings. It has 60 moons discovered to date.

Pan is one of Saturn's 60 moons and orbits the A ring. It was discovered by astronomer Mark. R. Showalter. Cassini has given three targets for research but I would like Pan to be preferred by researchers due to following reasons:

There are very few basic things that we just know about Pan without having the knowledge of why, which are:

• It is Saturn's innermost known moon. It is said that Pan's shape is like a walnut.
• It acts as a shepherd" moon because it keeps Saturn's Encke Gap free of ring particles.
• It orbits the A ring to keep it from diffusing onto space~
• Pan also creates stripes in the ring material. It's like Pan is trying to paint pictures.

But this is all we know about Pan. We know the shape of pan but we don't know the reason behind this shape. So the questions are why is Pan shaped like a walnut? Why not like a sphere? Was it hit by meteors? Or is there some volcanic activity taking place which has changed its shape? Or may be there is some electromagnetic field which has caused this shape? We don't know what makes this small body of mass act as a shepherd and prevent ring particles from Encke gap. Does it possess its own energy that keeps it from diffusing onto space? And what makes it create stripes? Is there an energy forcing all this to happen? If there is any energy, can humans make use of it? Right now there are a lot of "maybes" and "why's" it is only research of Pan which will lead us to something important and useful.

The other two topics of research given are "The F ring" and "Saturn and its rings". The reason I did not select any of these targets is because I feel that scientists have already researched a lot on them and we know so much about them, but discovery of Pan is new it has the promise to reveal sources of energy it can unveil the mysteries of universe as to how all these planets are bound together in a universe but yet so different from one another.

To conclude I would like to say that it seems that Pan has the potential to lead us to some source of energy. Scientists should therefore research on Pan and there is a chance that it can provide a means of energy to us, the energy starved humans."