Cassini Scientist for a Day 2009

Cassini"Cassini Scientist for a Day" is an international essay contest designed to give students a taste of life as a scientist. Students study three targets that the Cassini spacecraft will image during a given time set aside for education. Students are to choose the one image they think will yield the best science results and explain their reasons in an essay no longer than 500 words. The next opportunity reserved for this educational activity is October 11, 2009.

For more information of the Cassini Equinox Mission point your Web browser to

Marcel Bigger, National Contest Coordinator for Switzerland, Cassini Scientist for a Day Essay Contest, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory


The Deadline:

Essay contest entries must be received by October 30, 2009.

The Rules:

  • This opportunity is open to all students in Switzerland between the ages of 14 to 18.
  • Students write an essay in English and at 500 words maximum on one of the imaging targets, explaining why it will yield the best science results.
  • The topic of the essay: Target 1 (Saturn), Target 2 (Tethys and Saturn’s rings) and Target 3 (Titan)
  • Entries must be submitted by an astronomer or teacher and include the astronomer's or teacher's name, e-mail address and phone number including school name and address, and the name(s) and age(s) of all students who contributed to the essay being submitted.
  • Students can work alone or in teams of up to four students.
  • Students of different ages can work together but you must indicate the age of each student who co-authored the essay.
  • All submissions must be students' original work. Entries containing plagiarized material will be disqualified.
  • Each student or student group may submit only one entry.
  • Do not include direct contact information for students. All communication will be conducted between me and astronomers or the students’ teachers.
  • Essays which are longer than 500 words will be disqualified.
  • The names and contact information will not be included in the word count for the 500-word essay.
  • Use only plain text; no images or attachments.
  • 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.
  • Participants agree to assign copyright to me and 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 name, age, school, city and country of residence of the student(s).


Especially for Teachers:

You are welcome to use this contest as a class assignment, and submit all essays to me. Only the top five essays from each class will be included in the judging. After submitting all of your students’ essays, please send an email to me specifying which entries (up to five) from your class should be judged.

To enter the contest,

send your students' entries via to me. No attachments.


Target 1: Saturn


Target 2: Tethys and Saturn’s rings


Target 3: Titan