content long 25-August-2019 00:15:16

Winners - Spain

13 - 15 years old - Movie of Saturn's moon, Tethys, passing behind Rhea

Author:

José García Chacón

The mission I have chosen is the third target, the occultation of Tethys by Rhea. An occultation or eclipse is an event in which two celestial bodies get aligned, and one of them passes in front of the other, so we cannot see the second body. I have chosen this mission because I think it can be very useful.
Both moons Tethys and Rhea are a mystery to science. In Rhea scientist have discovered that there is a thin atmosphere composed of oxygen and carbon dioxide, being the only celestial body (excluding Earth) having oxygen, which in my opinion is the most intriguing, and not only because of the possibility to find some type of organism that could survive in that atmosphere. With sufficient technology development in the future you could create a research base in this moon, with the help of the presence of oxygen in its atmosphere. It would be necessary to develop new energy sources, because at that distance from the Sun, the solar energy would not be effective. Perhaps when we are able to have a scientific base inhabited in places like Rhea, we already have nuclear fusion generators.
Tethys is also very interesting because it is an icy satellite with a very similar density of water, so perhaps within some kind of liquid that does not know or just liquid water is found. Also an important thing it is the Ithaca Chasma, a huge valley about 100 km wide with a depth of 3-5 km and a length of 2000 km. Both satellites have been observed emitting jets of unknown particles and strange markings which are called "tiger scratches", about which we know virtually nothing. Investigate all this would be possible by the instrumentation available to the Cassini spacecraft, such as the Imaging Science Subsystem, that could photograph with a high spatial resolution, and also with the Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer instrument, providing information on the distribution and chemical characteristics of minerals on its surface.
We can conclude, therefore, that the benefits of this mission would be to study the possibility of life outside our planet, which would mean a revolution for humankind. In addition, the possibility of having oxygen would allow create a lunar research base that would serve as another observation point to Saturn and beyond.
 


Last Update: 20 May 2016

For further information please contact: SciTech.editorial@esa.int

Related Articles