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International Edition Winners 2010: Australia, Target 2

International Edition Winners 2010: Australia, Target 2



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Titan and Tethys
Titan and Tethys
Nina Louise Hooper


Grade: 11

Teacher Advisor: Jo-Lee Kennedy
Presentation College Windsor


Windsor, Melbourne, Australia



"Although it may appear to be a waste of effort to ignore Saturn itself and moniter it's moons, it seems that we may be able to gain even more from looking just beyond the giant planet. When it comes to expensive scientific research, it is clear that value, that is, getting the most possible out of an experiment or observation, is ideal. For this reason, it is without a doubt that target 2; Titan, Tethys and Enceladus, will reap the most rewards and is the best target of the three. The primary benefit of this target is that a lot of data will be collected towards further studies.

Titan, the largest of Saturn's many moons, is particularly interesting because it appears to be shrinking as it cools causing the surface to 'wrinkle.' This bizaar occurrence is causing mountains to form on the icy crust. The process for this is slow cooling due to releasing heat and internal radioactive decay allowing the surface to cool and reshape as it shrinks. Although this is not a phenomenon that we can draw parallels with to any other moon in our solar system, it is believed that Titan's surface and internal behaviour can give us further insight on how our solar system came to be as Earth has also displayed similar characteristics.

Due to recent speculation and discovery, Enceladus will also be of particular interest to scientists and non-scientists alike. One of Saturn's major moons, it is currently being studied for it's "tiger stripes" in it's south polar region. These stripes are believed to be giant fissures that expel water vapour and organic particles into space. This is intriguing because it means that there are large quantities of water stored under it's icy crust. This leads onto the theory that this moon might infact have the capability to harbour life, one of the fundamental purposes of space exploration that has brought Enceladus up to the forefront as a major target of astrobiological interest.

The opportunity to capture shots of Saturns rings, which are being studied for the presence of large 'snow balls' and another moon, Tethys, may also be beneficial for purposes we do not yet know. Ideally, more information will come from these images that will bring about new findings and questions to answer. The advantage of having a larger number of resources is obvious. In a similar way to that of probability, the larger the trial number the higher the likliness of success in gathering imperative information for future development. It is therefore evident that target 2 has the potential to be the most valuable of the three."