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2001 Edition -- Target 3: Saturn, Grade 7 and 8 Winner

2001 Edition -- Target 3: Saturn, Grade 7 and 8 Winner

Emily Risley
Titan and Tethys
Emily Risley
7th Grade
Bear Academy Homeschool
Waikoloa, Hawaii

Teacher: Lorelei Risley

"Cassini will be viewing many interesting targets, but to me, one choice is the best. Saturn, the second largest planet, has magnificent storms, super high wind speeds, and is different from Earth in many ways. Saturn is definitely an interesting target with its secrecy and mysteries.

Saturn has so many differences from Earth, it's hard to know where to begin. For instance, the yellow coloring in Saturn due to sulfur is a big contrast from Earth's green life. Also, Saturn's atmosphere is composed of 75 percent hydrogen and 25 percent helium, with traces of other gasses. Earth, on the other hand, is made mostly of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and oxygen. I wonder, how big a difference does the various gasses and minerals make in Saturn's atmosphere and weather patterns? If Cassini could photograph the difference, we'll be more able to compare Saturn to Earth, which will allow us to better understand the distinction between the two.

Saturn has had many storms, but each storm is different. This time, Cassini will be viewing the northern hemisphere, which we know little about. Also, Saturn is entering a new season, which could affect the storms. From the way Saturn is tilted in this season, the shadow of the rings is cast on the southern hemisphere. Could all these things affect Saturn's storms?

The violent winds are another peculiar aspect of Saturn. At the equator, the winds usually are 1800 kilometers per hour! With winds like that, it would be impossible to keep your feet! However, the winds blow us a question. How do the winds affect the other weather, like storms or rain? By studying the photographs Cassini takes of Saturn, it could help puzzle this out.

There are so many questions, and so many theories, but the only way to figure out the answers is through constant observation. In this, Cassini will play a major role. However, we know so little about Saturn, so we are more likely to discover more information than with any other target. I vote for Saturn!"