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International Edition Winners - 2013: Canada, Target 3, Grade 9

International Edition Winners - 2013: Canada, Target 3, Grade 9

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Target 3, Saturn
Henry Lin

Earl Haig Secondary School
North York, Toronto


"Saturn has been speculated since pre-historic times (even given the name of the roman god of agriculture), and even now, Saturn has been a planet of great mysteries. Distance between our planet and Saturn was a vast obstacle that prevented us from learning about this obscure planet, until now. As our technology progresses, space travel became more and more plausible until now, we are able to send probes all the way to Saturn. Although there are many things to explore in the Saturnian System, Saturn should be the one we focus on due to many reasons.

For one, the poles of Saturn hold deep mysteries that are yet to be solved. The north hexagonal pole, which Cassini took a clear picture of, is truly spectacular and enigmatic, almost a perfectly geometrical storm. The rotation rate of the storm seems to be locked with the rotation of Saturn but because Saturn's rotation is uncertain, this cannot be determined yet. If we understand the nature of the storm, we will be closer to finding the rotation rate of Saturn. Also, when we discover this, we might be able to apply this to weather patterns on Earth.

The South Pole is also quite spectacular. In the South Pole, there is a strange hurricane-like storm which cannot quite be classified as a hurricane due to strange behaviour. When Cassini explored the storm, many facts that show the storm was not a hurricane were discovered. Not only did the storm form without an ocean, it is locked to the pole of Saturn, where hurricanes on Earth drift around depending on winds. Also, an eye wall was able to be identified. Eye walls have only been found in storms on Earth, caused by moist convection currents. If we are able to explain the behaviours of the storm, we will learn about a new concept that was unheard of before. Like the storm in the North, we will be able to apply this to weather patterns on Earth.

As Cassini approaches Saturn, we will need to map Saturn to make sure it does not crash. This will be around 2017, when Cassini will fly in-between Saturn and its F ring, the most inner ring to complete the solstice mission. Being Cassini's last objective, it is also a very important one as Cassini will be approaching Saturn at a distance never seen before. Pictures of the F ring and of Saturn will be in great detail and will be key to finishing Cassini's mission.

Cassini should explore Saturn because it needs mapping for its final mission and its North and south poles are still mysterious. Due to the fact that so many new discoveries were made from Cassini, there is nothing holding back finding more as we approach closer and closer to the magnificent planet."