Cassini Scientist For a Day Contest 2017

The Cassini Scientist for a Day contest challenges students from class 5-12 to become NASA scientists studying Saturn. Participants examine three possible observations taken by the Cassini spacecraft and are tasked to choose the one they think will yield the best scientific results. This choice must then be supported in essay.

The topics for the contest


To watch videos about the targets, click on each target names: Enceladus’ Plumes , Titan’s Lakes and Saturn’s Hexagon

How to participate in this contest from Nepal?

  • Learn about Saturn, its fascinating rings and two of its most intriguing moons. Once your research is complete, choose one of the three targets and defend your choice in an essay of up to 500 words. Your decision should be based on which target you think would provide the most interesting scientific results. Just like real scientists do, explain what you hope to learn from the image you have selected.
  • Send your work to by no later than February 24, 2017.

What are the rules of the contest?

  • This opportunity is open to all students in Nepal who are in grades 5 to 12.
  • Students can work alone or in teams of up to four students.
  • All submissions must be students’ original work. Entries containing plagiarized material will be disqualified.
  • Essays that are longer than 500 words will be disqualified.
  • Use only plain text (no images or attachments). Attachments will not be accepted.
  • Communication skills are an important part of being a scientist. Spelling and grammar will be considered in addition to the ideas expressed in the essay.
  • Essay writers will be divided into three groups: grades 5 to 6, grades 7 to 8 and grades 9 to 12.
  • The names and contact information will not be included in the word count for the 500-word essay.

NOTE: There will be a winner for each target in each grade group. Write an essay (500 words maximum) explaining which one of the three imaging targets you think is most interesting, and explain why. If Cassini could only take one of these three images, which one would you choose?

To enter the contest

  • By participating, students agree to assign copyright to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) so that JPL and NASA can post the essays, as excerpts or in their entirety, on NASA web sites, along with the authors’ name, grade, school, city, and state.
  • Entries must be submitted by teachers. Entries can be submitted either in Nepali or English.

Teachers, please include

  • Your name, email address, telephone number including area code, and the name and address of the school, so that we may contact you.
  • The name(s) and grade(s) of all students who contributed to each essay (a maximum of four per essay).
  • You are welcome (and encouraged) to use this contest as a class assignment. However, you can ONLY submit the top three essays from each of your classes for us to judge.
  • Only the top three essays from each class will be included in the judging. After submitting your top three essays per class, please send an email to with the list of names of other students from your class(es) who wrote essays so we can make certificates of participation for them. If you teach more than one class, you may submit up to three top essays per class.
  • Once winners are selected, winners’ teachers will be contacted and asked to provide a photograph of the student(s) to post on our website along with the winning essays. Parents/guardians must submit written authorization to let us post the photos online.

What happens next

  • The decision of the judges is final.
  • The winning schools and as many other schools as possible will be invited to participate in a teleconference or video conference with Cassini scientists.