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International Edition Winners 2011: Pakistan, Target 1, 11-12

International Edition Winners 2011: Pakistan, Target 1, 11-12

Zunair Imtiaz
Zunair Imtiaz

11th Grade
BeaconHouse School System (Garden Town Campus)
Lahore, Pakistan

" Hyperion proves to be an ideal and a feasible satellite to be studied via Cassini's imagery system because of the reasons described as cases below.

Case 1

Research on Hyperion has proven that the irregularly shaped satellite has numerous craters filled with a dark reddish substance which are chains of carbon and hydrogen. As we know that Hyperion's major composition is of icy water and rocks, this leads us to the fact that hydrocarbons on Hyperion could be the potential sustenance of life, if there is any, on Hyperion. Planetary scientist Dale Cruikshank at NASA's Anies Research Centre, California, says:

"These hydrocarbon molecules, when embedded in ice and exposed to ultra violet rays of sun, form new molecules of biological significance. Though there are no traces of life found, yet this proves that the basic chemistry needed for life is in abundance at and around Hyperion."

Studying Hyperion in this regard is very important as the possibility of life on some other surface, other than Earth's, could exist. If life could be proved through this study, doors towards new developmental era could be opened, and the human urge to explore the vastness of space would be redefined.

Case 2

Hyperion's chaotic movement, considering the fact that it is not tidally locked, is intriguing and needs to be further studied in depth. Uptil now, researches have shown that Hyperion has no fixed axis of rotation. One possible explanation for such movement is that it is in 3:4 orbital resonances with Titan (one of Saturn's other moons) and that Hyperion being an irregularly shaped and relatively smaller body experiences gravitational pulls by larger bodies surrounding it, leading to such chaotic behavior. However, the probability of other explanations for this disorderliness could exist; for example, the presence of another force, which may not be in our knowledge. As it's well stated that an orbit of any heavenly body with respect to the other heavenly body is a result of centripetal and centrifugal forces. But in Hyperion's case, it is the only naturally occurring satellite to behave in such an abnormal manner. Observing this strangely unique phenomenon is important as it may lead to our unanswered questions. Similar to the discovery of gravitational pull by Sir Isaac Newton by observing the fall of an apple. Besides, such phenomena also provide us with the opportunity to replicate, model and create new inventions from them. For example, creation of a pin-bole camera takes its inspiration from the working principle of human eye. However, studying such principles is the fundamental step before we can think of using them for our benefits.

Case 3

Studying Hyperion's nature can also depict Saturn's features, just as by studying Earth's moon, we come to know that the moon's pull causes high and low tides on Earth.

It can therefore be concluded, from the argument above, that planting Cassini on Hyperion is significant and may lead to the opening up of new chapters in human evolution."