More than 1050 people submitted ideas for waving at Saturn from
the edge of space. Each entry was carefully considered by our
panel of judges. Points were awarded for creativity, practicality,
and connections to the themes of Saturn, the Pale Blue Dot, scientific
discovery and interplanetary photography.
KIDS' CATEGORY (under 16 years)
First place: Emily Tomaka, age 7, The UV beads
Emily said "I would like to send up ultraviolet beads
to measure UV light at different levels between the surface
of the Earth and the edge of space."
Emily wins an Explore Scientific AR102
Air-Spaced Doublet Refractor! $599 retail value.
honorable mention: Elizabeth Palmer, age 15,
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Elizabeth said, "It would be reason to panic if the Wave
at Saturn Research Balloon was not armed with a copy of Douglas
Adams' modern classic, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
As a minute object drifting towards infinite space, enveloped
in the inky aura of the unknown, a copy of the guide (and perhaps
a good towel) would prove indescribably useful. Because, in
the words of that wholly remarkable book: Space is big.
Really Big, You just won't believe how vastly hugely, mind-bogglingly
big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road
to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. I can’t
think of a more fitting homage to the late Mr. Adams than send
his literary masterpiece to the edge of space, winking down
at the brilliant garden of life we call home."
honorable mention: Byron Harris, age 11,
Cassini team photo
Byron said, "I think you should send a picture of NASA’s
team into space."
ADULT CATEGORY (16 and over)
winner: Eric Jude, age 28, vial of water
Eric said, "Send a small vial of water. Our bodies are
about 70% water… the surface of our planet is covered
with about the same percentile of water as our bodies. Without
water there would be no life on our terrestrial home. Without
the gift of water on this planet, humans would not exist…
our innovations would never came to be… we would not be
able to photograph Earth through the rings of Saturn. Without
water our solar system would be devoid of life. Water is the
reason we exist… its more than just a rainy day, more
than a beverage, more than a day at the beach… it makes
us… it is us…"
Note: The balloon flight team is looking forward to watching
the water crystallize as it ascends through the tropopause where
the temperature is -63 C. We also note that Saturn's rings are
made substantially of water.
Eric wins an Explore Scientific ED80
Air-Spaced Triplet Refractor! $999 retail value.
honorable mention: Earth to Sky Calculus,
ages 16 - 49: the Galileo Bobblehead
Earth to Sky Calculus said, "We propose a Galileo bobblehead,
because Gailieo was the first person to see Saturn's rings through
a telescope. Also, the nodding head will add something dynamic
to the video and Galileo's beard will wave at Saturn."
honorable mention: Liam Schmidt, age 17, Hula-hoop
Liam said "This
image NEEDS to be up there!"
honorable mention: Gabriel Restrepo, aged
30, a plant in a small boot
Gabriel said, "I would like to send a little plant planted
in a old shoe, like we saw on the movie Wall-E. This is a cool
proof of life in our planet."
Note: This suggestion ties in with Saturn as a mythological
god of agriculture. Plus, sending a plant plus some seeds could
serve as a secondary experiment to study the effect of near-space
flight on agriculture.