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International Edition Winners 2011: Australia, Target 3

International Edition Winners 2011: Australia, Target 3

Jarrod Kimpton
Titan and Tethys
Jarrod Kimpton

Wallan Secondary College
Year 11/12
Euroa, Victoria

"Saturn, the second largest planet, the second fastest rotational period, yet has the lowest density of all the ‘known’ planets in the solar system. Target 3, should primarily be the focus for the Cassini mission. My reasoning for this is backed up with the likelihood of advancing our ‘already established’ knowledge of prominent features that Saturn has. Most importantly finding ‘potential’ life on this planet. For the Cassini spacecraft to target Saturn in its ‘fly-by’ we could investigate Saturn in more “concentrated” way. Which may result to the many phenomenal discoveries of this planet, discoveries that could give us the indication of foreign life in our solar system.

The next reason that the Cassini spacecraft should target Saturn is because of its shear beauty is has to any other planet. Fundamentally Saturn’s intricate ring arrangement. The rings of Saturn contain mostly debris and water-ice all influenced by gravity, giving the ring shape. If the Cassini space craft could investigate the rings of Saturn, it could further examine the affects the rings have on this planet. In terms of forces, how it orbits the sun and even if the rings of Saturn contribute to the fastness of rotational period.

Additionally, the Cassini space craft should focus on Saturn because it could reveal “depths” of this planet. In terms of the vigorousness that occurs when you travel further down this planet. According to Dr. Kevin Baines, there is an unusual feature that occurs in the depths of Saturn. Known to be called the “String of pearls” which are described as “24 little Christmas lights”, these ‘lights’ are recognized as “holes in the clouds” that travel around Saturn to the opposite direction in which it rotates. I believe which further and extensive research that the Cassini space craft can provide, could advance our knowledge about these strange ‘lights’ that travel around Saturn. Questions such as why it travels in an opposite direction to its rotation, and also why there hasn’t been any other feature like this on any of the other planets in the solar system. Could be answered with the technology that the Cassini space craft has.

Following on, astronomers and other scientists in this field have known to observe Saturn’s “day side” where the sun reflects off this planet. The Cassini space craft allows for observers to see the “night side” of Saturn or the darker section of this planet. This could potentially ‘open many doors’ in terms of discovering many other features that occur within the darker sections of Saturn.

In conclusion, the Cassini space craft, if its targeted image is Saturn, could provide scientists and astronomers with a much more detailed and comprehensive investigation, on the obscurities that remain to be solved about this planet. Whilst doing so, could supply additional information about other planets with similar properties to Saturn. With the technology that the Cassini space craft has, it can dive into the depths of Saturn allowing us to study unusual and abnormal features that Saturn is recognized for."


  • Blend space exploration with reading and writing -- Reading, Writing & Rings!
  • Cassini Scientist for a Day -- Students get involved
  • Cassini Raw Images