Follow this link to skip to the main content

International Edition Winners - 2013: Turkey, Target 3, Grade 11

International Edition Winners - 2013: Turkey, Target 3, Grade 11

Elif Bilgin
Target 3, Saturn
Elif Bilgin

Grade: 11

School: VKV KoƧ High School


"Everyone usually knows the basics when it comes to space ('the great unknown'): Humans live on Earth, which is in the Solar System, and Saturn is one of our far neighbors. But how much do we really know about this gigantic planet? "It posesses a layer of numerous rings around it." True. "It has a magnificent view." Also true. But is this all there really is? Absolutely...NOT.

Sure, scientists do have a much better understanding of this planet and its unique features but that doesn't mean that they know everything about it! First of all, just as Cassini Navigator Julie Bellerose said, in a few years, Cassini will actually go in between the rings. In order for Cassini to do that, the scientists must calculate the best path for it to take. By the use of this target, the scientists will be able to acquire more information and a broader understanding of the rings' thickness and structure; and the shapes and sizes of the particles in the rings which will help them with the calculation. Besides, it hasn't yet been clarified what the exact mass of the rings of Saturn is because the thickness and shape of the rings haven't been examined thoroughly yet which makes the information gathered from this target crucial at determining this exact value. In addition, many particles and new moonlets inside or closeby the rings can be detected as well which may help scientists develop a better apprehension of the way moonlets form by providing new information about the interactions within the rings among particles.

'So are the rings the only thing about Saturn that is obscure to scientists?'

Wrong again! Scientists have always been interested by the enigma that is Saturn's weather. They have always been baffled by the fact that its the only planet which has one pole warmer than the other. The storms which occur on Saturn will be visible on the shot taken of target 3 and this way, the two poles may be compared (weather-wise) and the effect of this difference between poles on the weather conditions may be determined, allowing scientists to be able to uncover mysteries about how the interior structure of Saturn creates a medium for these weather occurrences to take place. Saturn has extremely large temperature spikes and storms every now and then like the unbelievably huge storm which took place on Saturn in 2011 with an incredible temperature peak of 150 degrees Fahrenheit that Cassini detected - a scientific riddle which is yet to be solved.

So it's pretty clear that Saturn is more than just "a pretty planet with hoops around it". There's so much more to learn about it! With its uncanny weather conditions and exterior aspects, it still remains a total mystery to those of us (scientists) who are the experts on this subject matter. With its majestic view endorsed by the rings it holds around itself, it might as well been called 'The Lord of The Rings'..."