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Cassini Scientist for a Day -- 2010 Edition, U.S. Winners
Target 3: Saturn, Grade 7 & 8

Cassini Scientist for a Day -- 2010 Edition, U.S. Winners
Target 3: Saturn, Grade 7 & 8


Coby Dolloff
Titan and Tethys
Saturn
Coby Dolloff

7th Grade
Branson Junior High School
Teacher: Ginny Lennon
Branson, Mo.


"I think the Cassini mission should be focused on Target Three: A Day On Saturn, because it will yield more and better information than filming nearby objects to Saturn (the other two targets).

For one, Saturn is a planet shrouded in mystery, so filming it for a full day could unlock secrets about this great planet. For example, Saturn's rotation speed is unknown. A widely accepted daily rotation time is about ten and a half hours but there is a dispute among scientists about the exact time. Also, the substance of Saturn's rings is a scientific mystery. We do know that they are mostly made of ice particles, but there are thought to be other materials as well. Another question about Saturn is how its core gets so hot. It heats to a sizzling one hundred twenty thousand degrees Celsius, hotter than the Kelvin-Hemholtz principle can explain. This principle states that the slow, self-regulated coupling of cooling and gaseous contracting causes gasses of objects in space to become condensed as they heat up, but since the temperature of Saturn is hotter than this can explain, some scientists think there is a different mechanism at work in Saturn's core. All of these questions speak for themselves. We need Cassini to film Saturn, and answer them.

Another reason why Cassini should focus on filming Saturn for a day is that it has not been done before. Doing so could reveal more about the planet's life cycle, climate, and weather. The winds on Saturn are so wild that they stripe the surface with bands of clouds! Another amazing fact about Saturn's life cycle is that the planet's rotation is fast enough that it causes the shape to bulge at its equator and flatten at its poles (nasa.gov). Saturn is also the only known non-Earth planet with a hurricane that has a clear eye wall. This is located on the South Pole. There is also a giant hexagonal cloud pattern on Saturn's North Pole
(wikipedia.com). It is unknown why this amazing design exists. With all these astonishing things discovered by older spacecrafts and telescopes such as Voyager, imagine what a technologically advanced spacecraft like Cassini could uncover about this intriguing planet!

Finally, filming either of the other two targets would not yield nearly as much information as target three. Filming target one, Rhea, would not be as helpful because it would tell only about one specific moon, and not Saturn, its rings, or any nearby objects. Target two will only film Titan at a far-away angle, two lesser moons at a bit closer angle, and Saturn's rings from straight on, which isn't a good viewpoint. With this in mind, the other targets don't seem nearly as helpful as target three.

Cassini should film Target Three: A Day On Saturn, because it will be much more helpful to the advancement of knowledge about Saturn and our solar system than any other target."