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International Edition Winners 2012: Turkey, Target 3, Grade 9-10

International Edition Winners 2012: Turkey, Target 3, Grade 9-10


Orhan Efe Yavuz
Saturn
Target 3, Saturn
Orhan Efe Yavuz

VKV Koc High School
10th Grade


"Saturn, the second largest planet in our solar system, would be the best preference for Cassini's next flyby, considering its startling and mysterious phenomena. There are basically two logical reasons why Saturn shall be chosen for the next flyby of Cassini. The reason why Saturn radiates heat energy more than it gains from the Sun is still puzzlement for scientists and scientists still do not completely comprehend the abnormal and extreme storms in Saturn.

Just like the solar system's largest planet Jupiter, Saturn radiates more energy than it receives from the Sun, implying that, it has an internal heat source. Astronomers think that Saturn's heat does not come from its slow gravitational contraction, however, as most of Jupiter's does. Instead, they hypothesize that this extra energy comes from the helium droplets in the atmosphere of Saturn. When the helium droplets in its atmosphere fall toward Saturn's extremely hot core, they release gravitational energy. That might be the source of this extra energy, astronomers think. However, as I mentioned above, it is still a hypothesis. Like all other hypothesis, it should be tested to be proven. If this common hypothesis of astronomers is proved or disproved, this might give us a general idea why this phenomenon occurs not only in Saturn, but also in Jupiter. There is actually only one way to test it, making a flyby. Therefore, Saturn must be selected as the target for the next flyby of Cassini.

Just like how the Earth and the Venus are very similar, even sometimes they are called as "twins", Jupiter and Saturn are very similar not only in size, but also in atmospheric characteristics. Saturn and Jupiter are known for their violent, long-lasting storms. The most massive storm in Saturn is called the Great White Spot (it was named after the storm, the Great Red Spot, in Jupiter). It is a periodic storm at 28.5-year intervals. Even though its size changes, depending on its orbit around the Sun, this hyper-storm can be several thousands of kilometers wide and can last approximately 28 years. Why do not we see such massive, enormous storms in our planet? Why do they last too long, while the storms in the Earth last only several months? What are their origins? What might cause them? These are the questions; astronomers are seeking to answer for decades. These mysterious questions can only be answered by making a flyby to Saturn.

It is clear that Saturn should be selected as the target for Cassini's next flyby because of its extra energy release phenomenon and its unusual, bizarre storms. Making a flyby to Saturn would not only enlighten us about Saturn, but it will also enlighten our comprehension about Jupiter, since they both have some similar features, just like mentioned above."