Anwesha Chatterjee

Year: 2018-19

Anwesha Chatterjee

School: Nava Nalanda High School

Grade: 10

City: Kolkata

"I would like to send a robotic spacecraft to the largest moon of an astounding gas giant(Saturn)-Titan. As witnessed from the pictures taken by Cassini, it is a mysterious world ruled by raging storms and delicate harmonies of gravity but Cassini could see partly through the thick, orange, hazy atmosphere shrouded over Titan; where methane rivers join into extra-terrestrial oceans which might mean life or unusual geological activity and is one of the most tantalizing puzzles of the solar system. Methane is known to be associated with life and titan is awash with it. We might find that beneath the hydrocarbon lakes exist oceans of liquid water where ammonia is acting as an anti-freezer, preventing it from freezing solid.

A body with nitrogen-methane atmosphere where ground-level pressure is one and half times that of our home planet may have the right ingredients for molecular precursor of life and it might be a place suitable to look for existence of life forms we are unaware of. Although it is predicted that a kind of methane-rich ice named Clathrate Hydrate might be present in Titan, but sunlight continuously breaks down methane in the atmosphere so there needs to be a source producing it at a constant rate or it would have depleted. AS the researchers suspect, cryovolcanic could be the phenomenon responsible for the substantial atmosphere Titan has, but again there is no concrete proof and it could be something totally different as well. The unknown source of methane which makes Titan the mysterious world it is could be identified with further investigations.

The rings of Saturn add another unique element and a reason for further exploration. As seen in the JPL videos, the ring has intricate wave patterns within it which was discovered by Christopher Mankovich. He discovered that the interior of Saturn vibrates at frequencies to which the rings respond, acting like seismometers. Scientist Linda Spilker said, "The rings held the answer", but I have doubt about why the particles cannot HELP but feel the oscillations in the gravity field. There must be some internal mechanism like unique particles which respond only to the kind of vibrations made by Saturn or any other concept which could be known by further studies. The extremely cold temperature, unusual alignment magnetic field and the speed of its rotation by further investigations might reveal geomorphic processes- endogenic or exogenic resulting to the formation of such bizarre landform features.

I would like to send my specialized robotic spacecraft-UNAGI 624A equipped with radioisotope thermoelectric generator for abundant energy supply along with a hard shell to protect the delicate interior consisting of an altimeter, REX, airspeed indicator and Plasma and energy particle detector along with other necessary equipment. If such a mission is undertaken, I hope the true wonders of Titan- the world of complex chemistry and unique environment would be revealed."

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