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International Edition Winners 2012: Turkey, Target 3

International Edition Winners 2012: Turkey, Target 3

Asli Ak
Target 3, Saturn
Asli Ak

Eyuboglu High School
11th Grade

"After watching all three target videos, I decided that Target 3: Saturn would be the most useful one for later research. Until this day, Cassini sent data mostly about the structure and composition of Titan's atmosphere and the properties of the moon itself. For the second extension of Cassini's mission, which will end on September 2017, it is aimed to gather information about the internal structure of Saturn and also the rings of the planet. Since Target 3 focuses both on the planet and its rings, it is the best choice that will serve to the purpose of the mission. The other two missions were focused on studying a certain section of the ring and analyzing data from that specific section. However, the data that Target 3 will provide are expected to advance our knowledge about this planet and its characteristics.

First of all, the close up pictures from Cassini will provide scientists crucial information about weather changes on the planet. Since Cassini will observe both winter and summer conditions in Saturn during its mission, the weather changes would give us details of Saturn's seasons; thus increasing our future predictions' accuracy on these periodic behaviors. This outcome will also fulfill one requirement of Cassini, providing data on the internal structure of Saturn.

Secondly, during Cassini's mission the star Spica will be passing behind the rings of Saturn, causing an occultation. Therefore the light of Spica will be blocked by the rings of Saturn. The amount of light absorbed or blocked by particles in the ring would indicate the characteristics of those particles. This information would lead to further understanding of the ring structure, shape, thickness, size and also the interaction between rings. By using this information it may be easier to calculate or estimate the mass of the rings, which is a purpose of Cassini's mission.

Even the beautiful vision formed by the weather changes of Saturn and the arrangement of the rings is enough to choose Target 3. In addition to the scientific contributions Target 3 provides, the astonishing photographs taken by Cassini may attract the attention of people, who may afterwards decide to join the space missions. Moreover, since space has always been fascinating because of its unknowns, the images may even inspire some remarkable artistic work.

To conclude, I believe that the third target is the best when all features are taken into consideration. It serves the purpose of the mission by collecting information about Saturn's seasonal changes, ring structure and mass as well as contributing arts by facilitating creative works."