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International Edition Winners 2012: Turkey, Grade 11, Target 1

International Edition Winners 2012: Turkey, Grade 11, Target 1

Kaan Yidrim
Target 1, Pan
Kaan Yildirim

Eyuboglu High School
11th Grade

"After discovering three targets of Cassini Space Craft within the Solstice Mission, "Target 1" which aimed to target Pan; the closest moon of Saturn attracted my attention the most. An observation of Pan would mean that the spiral density waves created by it can be observed too. This is a great opportunity to explain many mysteries about the rings of Saturn and Pan itself, thus "Target 1" must be selected to provide the extensive data required for this.

First of all, the observation of Pan may lead to valuable data about the formation of itself and similar shaped moons like Atlas. The extraordinary place of Pan suggests that the formation of it is based on a relatively large core, bounding porous icy ring material to itself. The strange "walnut" like shape suggests high rotation speed at the time of formation as materials tend to move to planetary equator forming some sort of an accretion disc around the planetary equator. Selecting "Target 1" will allow us to gather precious data about Pan, helping validating these theories or unveiling completely new theories.

While Pan orbits around Saturn, it affects the A Ring as Encke Gap. Pan creates spiral density waves as it attracts ring material from the A Ring. This creates a disturbance in the border of Encke Gap. Observing these will allow us to understand the dynamic system better. Also there are other spiral density waves caused by other unidentified stellar objects, most likely small moons like Pan. The understanding of this orbital mechanical system would allow us to predict the masses and positions of these unidentified stellar objects and give a chance to compare them to Pan itself for the better understanding of the formation of such stellar objects. Furthermore better understanding of this system would allow a better understanding of the structure of A Ring around the Encke Gap.

The shape and structure of Pan suggests that the event created it and the rings of Saturn are primordial. This combined with the fact that the total mass of the rings of Saturn is around 3 x 1019 kg supports the theory which states that the rings of Saturn are formed by the dissipation of former larger moon(s) of Saturn. The composition and interactions of Pan may supply critical information which may be used to develop the theories on formation of Saturn's rings.

Overall, Pan is an element of the Saturn system and it clearly can be stated that the more we know the Pan, the more we will know the Saturn system. To conclude I think that the data that will be collected about the formation and structure of Pan, about the orbital mechanical system between Pan and the A Ring and about the relation between the formation of Saturn's rings and the formation of Pan holds crucial importance for the better understanding of Saturn system and that is why the "Target 1" is the most important target."