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Cassini Scientist for a Day -- 2010 Edition, U.S. Winners
Target 3: Saturn, Grade 5 & 6

Cassini Scientist for a Day -- 2010 Edition, U.S. Winners
Target 3: Saturn, Grade 5 & 6


Simona Kurdalieva
Titan and Tethys
Saturn
Simona Kurdalieva

5th Grade
Arbor View School
Teacher: Mary Lou Andacht
Glen Ellyn, Ill.


"Close your eyes and imagine this: the Sun is rising and its rays poke easily through the heavy clouds. You seem to smell the ammonia from them. You focus trying not to miss anything. You see the vicious storms and piercing winds, enough to knock you down! You grasp your chair tightly, wondering what else there is ahead because it has just started. A new day... on Saturn!

It is imagination for now, but it will be a real, scientific movie soon enough, after the spacecraft, Cassini, completes the exploration of its third target: A day on Saturn. This is my favorite target because I think by studying it, scientists can gather the most rewarding information.

If Cassini were to fulfill its mission, we would not only have a movie showing us a real day on Saturn, but it would supply us with many useful facts we are not sure about. For example, we have controversial data about the rotation rate of Saturn. The previous data from the "Voyager" was longer than all the other rotation rates that were taken before. Scientists hope that target three will find the reason for this controversial data and figure out the correct rotation rate.

Saturn's interior rotation rate is also unknown because there is no way to measure it. This is a very important piece of data that we should know. Getting close to Saturn, Cassini will be able to identify the interior rotation rate of this beautiful planet.

I think "A day on Saturn" will be a lot more interesting than the other targets. Currently we do not know as much about the mysterious gas giant planets in our solar system. Saturn, the real lord of the rings, still keeps some of its secrets from us. Only Cassini will be able to see the planet's night side. It will also witness the small storms on Saturn's atmosphere and a non-solid surface from a very close point of view. Cassini might be able to provide information as to what is causing these storms.

So, do you still have your eyes closed? Are you still holding on to your chair? Wouldn't it be awesome if your imagination of "A Day on Saturn" comes into life? When it does, remember that you helped by choosing target three. Good luck!"