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Transcript of Linda Spilker's intro

Linda Spilker
Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist, introduces the Spring 2014 contest.
Welcome to the 13th edition of the Cassini Scientist for a Day essay contest. This special edition is in celebration of Cassini’s 10th year circling Saturn. Cassini’s 10-year anniversary is the last day of June [2014] so please help us make this an exciting contest.

My name is Linda Spilker and I am the Cassini Project scientist.

Part of my job is to work with over 300 scientists on Cassini to plan and collect the best possible science throughout the Cassini mission. Our scientists carefully plan which targets they will study, and each Cassini scientist specializes in studying different aspects of the Saturn system such as the rings, the planet itself, or one of Saturn’s moons. When two scientists want to look at two different targets at the same time I referee their discussions and help them decide which target is the best for Cassini to study. Sometimes difficult decisions have to be made because we only spend a limited amount of time really close to Saturn or the rings or moons like Titan.

This special edition of the Cassini Scientist for a Day contest is your chance to tell us where you think the Cassini cameras should be pointed during its upcoming observations. With so many choices, it's hard to choose a target. I really enjoy reading your essays and you definitely give us good ideas for what to do next.

The science planning team has designed three possible observations. Each one has its own scientific merits.

Target number 1 is Saturn’s F ring. This narrow dusty ring is just outside Saturn’s main rings and it’s changing and dynamic.

Target number 2 is the giant moon Titan. It takes a number of pictures pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle to cover all of Titan.

Target number 3 is Saturn’s north pole. A huge hexagon circles the pole and inside it is a giant hurricane.

My colleagues Carl Murray, Zibi Turtle, and Brigitte Hesman will be discussing why you should pick their favorite target.

So learn as much as you can about each of these interesting targets and tell us why we should pick your target. Cassini scientists like me and other Cassini staff will read your essays. There will be a winner for each target.

Thank you very much for joining our contest and good luck with your essays!