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International Edition Winners 2010: Romania, Target 2 -- Grade 7th-9th

International Edition Winners 2010: Romania, Target 2 -- Grade 7th-9th

Bureschi Andreea
Titan and Tethys
Titan and Tethys
Bureschi Andreea

Teacher Advisor: Popa Lucia
High School: Cuza Voda, No. 5 Secondary School


"For me, a passionate student of astronomy, it is an exciting opportunity to be able to live just for a day the experience of deciding the path and the scientific mission of the spacecraft Cassini. With the help of this "messenger" of humanity we could get a lot of new information, thus succeeding in finding out more about the mysteries of the giant gas planet Saturn and its moons.

Each proposed target has a special scientific importance, in my opinion, and it was not easy to choose between three options.

Target 1, the images with Rhea's surface would allow us to better observe the landforms produced by the changes in volume of the satellite, the spectacular tectonic faults in order to determine whether there is water in the solid crust, which could lead to much expected discoveries!
Target 3, recording a day on Saturn would help us to track the effect of the exposure to solar radiation of the planet's atmosphere, the mechanism of formation and evolution of electrical storms, extreme weather events, their relation to the planet's magnetic field. Humanity would use this information to find and control an enormous source of energy, so far from the Sun, but also to better understand how to control hurricanes, and later to create technologies that could use them to our benefit.

However, I think the most important information could come from running the second proposed mission, target 2, the video recording of the satellites Tethys and Enceladus during their alignment with the moon Titan. Here are the arguments that led me to make this choice:

1.Enceladus is volcanically active, with geysers of ice, a spectacular volcanism of water and ammonia . Hence the questions arise: "How can Enceladus have a heating mechanism so that it can form geysers?" "Where does the satellite Enceladus take its energy to support geological activity?".

As far as I know, it is the only celestial body in the Solar System, besides Earth, with traces of oxygen in the atmosphere. I think it's very important to know whether the water, the ammonia and the oxygen can leave the satellite and spread through the whole system of rings and moons of Saturn. We should watch "live" how this phenomenon occurs and whether it increases at the alignment of Enceladus with the other satellites.

2.Tethys has not always been a frozen solid. At some point in the past it had a liquid surface. The impact craters of that time were covered and smoothed. As it was freezing and expanding, the surface must have been broken. I believe that the alignment with the other satellites will enhance the tidal effects of gravity and, as happened on Enceladus, we could watch live the changes on the surface, such extraordinary geological phenomena. Choosing this target can mostly help scientists in designing future space stations placed in the vicinity of Saturn, in order to lead humanity towards the raw material resources such as meten and hydrogen that await in the Solar System.
The solar System is our home. We need to know how it better in order to progress, to evolve as a species.
Good luck and good journey, Cassini, on behalf of all humanity!"