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International Edition Winners - 2013: Turkey, Target 2, Grade 10

International Edition Winners - 2013: Turkey, Target 2, Grade 10

Damla Oncel
Target 2, Dione
Damla Öncel

Grade: 10

Teachers: Müge Özgönül, Burcu Parmak

Eyüboğlu High School

City: Istanbul

"After watching the three videos, I am convinced that "Target 2" is the best choice. Dione, the mother of Aphrodite, has many unsolved mysteries which would deepen our understanding of the conditions needed for water and ultimately our understanding of the conditions needed to support extra-terrestrial life For that reason the data that would be collected from Dione, would provide most benefit for the Cassini Navigation Team. Over the years, scientists discovered that some planets and moons have subsurface ocean which can potentially support life. Remarkably, two members of this category are the moons of Saturn. Dione, is an icy sphere, with many similarities to these moons, and if it were to become the newest member of this category, its differences and the new dataset would provide insight into the envelope of physical conditions possible for life bearing potential and build our understanding of the previous collected data. ?t is true that Cassini will complete another final fly-by of Dione on its current mission (in 2015), but more time is needed for the preparation of strategies to maximize its chances of detecting subsurface water.

There is strong evidence of life-bearing potential in the past the Cassini spacecraft Cassini Spacecraft made a number of close flybys of Dione, beaming back astonishing images of it. Up until then Dione was thought to be simply a moon with a surface covered in dirt. The startling discovery of a weak stream coming out of the surface gave the first indication that this could be a geographically active world.. The second sign is, Dione is heated up while it swings around Saturn. The reason of this is directly proportional to the gravitational force which is caused by subsurface ocean. There is one final piece of evidence – the oxygen ions detected by Cassini probe around the moon which is a small amount in comparison with Earth, admittedly, but charged particles from the Sun may be reducing the amount produced. Without a further look, the Cassini Team cannot know.

Using mass spectrometry, the constituent molecules of Dione's exosphere can be identified, and compared with Rhea, and hypotheses tested about the significance of these constituents for potential life. This would provide a method for ruling out moons and planets in the search for life. It would also provide more data to research the process whereby life begins. In the case of Encaladus, there are inative cracks found on the surface, very similar to Dione. A second planet for comparison would new conclusions to be drawn about them.

Ultimately people have great interest in planets which can sustain life. Questions about the meaning of our existence and our place in the universe are included in that search which explains part of the reason for the rush to find one.

To conclude, I believe 'Target 2' to be the best choice because of its life-supporting potential. A larger dataset increases our ability to answer the questions we look to answer. Think of the headline: 'New Moon discovered which can sustain life!'."