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Cassini Scientist for a Day -- Fall 2009 Winners
Target 3: Titan, Grade 5 & 6

Cassini Scientist for a Day -- Fall 2009 Winners
Target 3: Titan, Grade 5 & 6


Aakansha Kumar
Mariam Salib
Titan
Titan
Aakansha Kumar and Mariam Salib

6th Grade
Matawan Aberdeen Middle School
Teacher: Debra Mescal
Cliffwood, N.J.


"We think that Titan is the most valuable target in data. We have three reasons for this. One is that Titan is bizarrely similar to Earth. Another is its awkward differences to Earth, despite its similarity. One more reason is its ability to help on further missions. Read on to find out more!

It may not be as breathtakingly beautiful as the other targets, but Titan is rich in mysteries. One is that it is so much like Earth. Titan is the only object in the solar system, besides Earth, that has flowing liquid. This fluid, however, is liquid methane and ethane. Another similarity is the geographic features. There are dunes, rivers, and lakes, just like Earth. There is a dense nitrogen atmosphere as well. It's so much like Earth, but we don't know why. Could life survive on this mini replica of Earth? Sending the Cassini satellite to Titan might answer these mind boggling questions!

Despite this, Titan has many differences from Earth. You might want to grab a winter coat! The temperature is about -283 degrees Fahrenheit! Also, the liquid that flows on the surface of Titan is liquid methane and ethane. This means, with a hint of oxygen and a small spark, this large moon will burst into flame! Ever seen a volcanic eruption? Gushes of ash and molten rock spew out of the volcano and spread everywhere! That isn't the case on Titan. On Titan, liquid water and methane shoot out instead of our usual lava. If we decide to study Titan, we could find out what secrets lay beneath the surface. What does the moon's interior look like? How can it be so alike to Earth, yet so different? We can find out all of this!

Our final reason for the scientists to choose Titan is this mission will prepare us for further research in other places. By studying Titan, an object in our own solar system, we acquire the experience to organize larger projects, such as a satellite to explore another solar system for life, and even later, a whole different galaxy! With this simple mission, we have practice looking for life in a simple picture. If we do find signs of life, we can do further study on Titan. We will then obtain even more knowledge! It all starts with Titan!

So, as we come to the conclusion of this essay, we would like to review the contents. The three main reasons why we support a mission to Titan is that it is similar to Earth, it is different despite the similarities, and the exploration of this moon will prepare us for further missions. We would also like to say how much of a learning experience this has been for us. We learnt things we never knew! Whether Titan is the best target or not, let's hope that the Cassini satellite discovers things that wouldn't appear in our wildest dreams. "