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2014 Essay Contest: Winner, Target 2, Grade 5 - 6

2014 Essay Contest: Winner, Target 2, Grade 5 - 6


Nicholas Vitebsky
Titan
Target 2, Titan
Nicholas Vitebsky

Mountain View School
6th Grade
Mendham, New Jersey

Teacher: Denise Magrini


"I’ve always wondered about the only moon in the Solar System known to have clouds. Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, has enormous mountains and rivers of acid. Even though we would need the greatest minds and innovations put together, it could be possible to travel there. With its thick atmosphere and organic-rich chemistry, it would be even possible to live on Titan! According to NASA, Titan is the most Earth-like world known with present day research. A beautiful, captivating mosaic of Titan’s most interesting features will be created, and inspired people across the globe will learn about Titan’s extremely interesting active atmosphere, complex Earth-like processes, and volcanism.

To begin with, Cassini should take pictures of Titan, because of its active atmosphere. A thick, orange photochemical smog blankets the entire planet, so until 2004, nobody knew what Titan looked like. I recently watched Cosmos, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, which explained about Titan and its surface. There could have been life on it, and humans could live there with the right technology. Additionally, Titan’s atmosphere is interesting, because as Nature.com explains, high-complexity molecules and ions at altitudes greater than 950 kilometres appear. Therefore, Cassini should take pictures of Titan because of its active atmosphere.

Additionally, Cassini should take pictures of Titan is because of its complex Earth-like processes. Titan’s surface is shaped by rivers of methane. The methane evaporates, and rains from the sky. The temperature is around -290 degrees Fahrenheit, so methane turns to liquid. Also, there are huge mountains, dwarfing many structures on Earth. These mountains were formed by methane rivers and extremely strong winds. This was an example of erosion over time. For evidence, when the Huygens probe landed on Titan, it measured liquid and wind levels. Overall, Cassini should take pictures of Titan because of its complex Earth-like processes.

Moreover, Cassini should take pictures of Titan because of the volcanism that occurs. Scientists forebode that Titan harbors an internal ocean of water and ammonia, around 60 miles beneath the surface. Titan’s volcanism is extremely interesting, because when the Huygens probe mapped Titan, the data revealed that Titan had water and ice volcanoes, according to Space.com. These volcanoes spew out jets of water and ice. Scientists have found these mysterious ice volcanoes, named “cryovolcanoes”. They have confirmed one already, on Enceladus, another one of Saturn’s moons. Altogether, Cassini should take pictures of Titan because of the volcanism that occurs.

These incredible features, such as mountains, cryovolcanoes, and a cloud sustaining atmosphere that cover this moon all describe the past. Ultimately, Cassini should take pictures of Titan. This will open a new chapter of mystery for millions across the globe. People who look up into the night sky and wonder what is out there will study these pictures closely, and their questions will be answered. They will see these cryovolcanoes and they will imagine discovering one day. These incredible photographs will inspire people to follow their dreams. What will these people contribute to space and science?"