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International Edition Winners - 2013: Romania, Target 2, Grade 5-6

International Edition Winners - 2013: Romania, Target 2, Grade 5-6

Target 2, Dione
Ruxandra Hristache, Maria Rotaru, Matei Deleanu, Ioana Manea,
Ruxandra Hristache, Maria Rotaru, Matei Deleanu, Ioana Manea (left to right, above)


Teacher: Ioana Stoica


“Tudor Vianu” National High School of Computer Science


"We believe that Dione should be studied by Cassini satellite. Dione was discovered by Giovanii Cassini in 1684. Dione is one of the four moons that Cassini discovered: Tethys, Dione, Rhea and Iapetus and he named them "Sidera Lodoicea" to honor king Louis XIV. Cassini found Dione using a large aerial telescope that he set up on the ground of the Paris Observatory. Dione shares the same name with the goddess or titan Dione. Dione has several craters as large as 100 kilometers which are usually around the trailing hemisphere of the moon and moderately, light crated plains, as well as fractured areas. A moon's leading hemisphere should be heavily crated. This fact proves that Dione was turned around 180 degrees. But we all wonder: "How did this happen?" By studding carefully and closely this rare phenomenon we will understand it and for sure that we will also unlock many other unexplained mysteries of the Universe and we will surely find out much more about Saturn.

Dione always faces Saturn with one side, just as Iapetus and Earth's Moon. Dione is gravitationally locked with two other smaller moons. These moons are Helene and Polydeuces. Helene orbits Saturn 60 degrees ahead of Dione, while Polydeuces orbits Saturn 60 degrees behind Dione. More than this, Saturn's moon Dione is in resonance with Mimas and Enceladus. These are moons of Saturn near Dione. Mimas and Enceladus speed up slightly as they approach each other and slow down as they draw away. This causes a slight variation of their orbits in a long series of complex changes. This pheuneon make them keep themselves locked in their positions. Even more, Dione keeps Enceladus locked at a period exactly one half of the Dione orbit.

The wisps on Dione are caused, probably, by successive cracking. They are as bright as canyon ice wall and they can be several hundred meters high! They are bright because when the darker material falls off it exposes the bright water ice. Dione's fracture cliffs suggest tectonic activity in the past of this wonderful moon. These cliffs could actually be a mature phase of the so-called tiger stripes on Enceladus.

A very fine ice powder that came from Enceladus to the E ring of Saturn constantly bombards our mysterious moon.

Dione's density of liquid water is 1.48, suggesting that about a third of Dione is a dense core and the rest is ice which behaves like rock. If there really exists water on Dione, where did it come from? How did it develop? Were there ever forms of life on Dione? Maybe Cassini had known more about Dione, but he destroyed his knowledge just like Newton. These are all just question marks that we want to answer to. Dione is an interesting moon with many "probably"-s which has to become "true" or "false". Dione is the goddess of mysteries and we believe that she is ready to show her real face. All we have to do is study her!"

  • Blend space exploration with reading and writing -- Reading, Writing & Rings!
  • Cassini Scientist for a Day -- Students get involved
  • Cassini Raw Images