Cassini Scientist for a Day 2013

The Cassini Scientist for a Day Essay Contest is an annual scientific essay-writing contest for students from Secondary Schools, Junior Colleges and Polytechnics.  It is run by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in partnership with various local Astronomy organizations in participating countries.  Astronomy.SG is proud to be a co-organizer for this contest.


The 2013 Cassini Scientist for a Day Essay Contest is now closed.


Cassini Scientist for a Day 2013 Video Conference:

Thank you to all 2013 essay contest participants! We’ve had many amazing submissions and great questions posed about Saturn, its moons, and the Cassini mission!

In conjunction with the contest, all participants and selected members of the winning school are invited to a video conference with Cassini scientists and engineers. The prize-giving ceremony will also be held at the same time.

Venue: NUS CIT Auditorium (map)
Date: 17th December 2013 (Tuesday)
Time: 11am – 12.30pm

This year, our speakers are:

Dr. Allan Y. Lee
Allan Y. Lee received his Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University. From 1989 until today, he works on the Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan. For more than 20 years, he supported the design, build, test, launch, and mission operations of the spacecraft. He has also supported other interplanetary missions including the Mars Science Laboratory, Galileo Jupiter mission, Deep Impact, Kepler, Mars Odyssey, and Dawn (exploration of the asteroids Vesta and Ceres). He was awarded two NASA exceptional service medals. He has also authored and coauthored more than 60 journal and conference papers, and two book chapters in engineering, technology, and applied science.
Prof. Andrew P. Ingersoll
Andrew P. Ingersoll, the Earle C. Anthony Professor of Planetary Science at the California Institute of Technology, is an expert on the weather and climate of Earth and the other planets. He has participated in many space missions including Pioneer Jupiter/Saturn, Pioneer Venus, Voyager, VEGA Venus Balloons, Mars Global Surveyor, Galileo to Jupiter, Cassini to Saturn, and Juno, currently on its way to Jupiter. Among his numerous discoveries, he was the first to suggest a runaway greenhouse for Venus’ atmosphere. Dr. Ingersoll received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal and was awarded the Gerard P. Kuiper Prize of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society.

If you did not participate in the contest but are keen on attending the video conference, drop us an e-mail and seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.


Cassini Contest 2013 details:

Ever wanted to work with a real, current NASA mission?  Here’s your chance today!

Experience what it’s like to be part of a Science Team on a space mission. Tell us which target associated with the Saturn system YOU think is best to image and why.


Pick your favourite target, and write a persuasive essay describing the scientific merits of your choice.  Your decision should be based on which image would yield the most scientific results. Just like actual scientists do, you are to explain what you hope to learn from the image you have selected.

What questions do you have about your target that you hope will be answered? Research scientists and educators will read all the entries we receive. Will yours rise to the top? Good luck!

2013 Targets:
Target 1, Iapetus
Target 2, Dione
Target 3, Saturn

The deadline for the Singapore contest is 11:59pm on 1st November, 2013. For regular updates and reminders on this contest, send us a blank email to

*Please note that the deadline, rules and prizes of the Singapore contest differ from the American edition.

Submit Your Entry


2013 Video Conference Speakers:

Dr. Allan Y. Lee (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA)
Prof. Andrew Ingersoll (Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology)



  • This contest is open to students studying in a Secondary School, Junior College, Polytechnic, or equivalent educational level in Singapore.
  • All students attending a school in Singapore, regardless of nationality, are welcome to participate.
  • International school students should follow the equivalent grade categories, i.e. 7th – 12th grades.

To Enter the Contest


  • Students are to work individually.
  • All submissions must be students’ original work.  Entries containing plagiarized material will be disqualified.
  • Each student may submit only one entry.
  • Essays that are longer than 500 words will be disqualified.
  • Use only plain text (no images).  Images and attachments in addition to the basic template will be disregarded.
  • 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.
  • The school year of the student will be taken into consideration in judging so that younger students are not disadvantaged.
  • The decision of the judges is final.
  • By participating, students agree to assign copyright to JPL so that JPL and NASA can post the essays, as excerpts or in their entirety, on NASA websites, along with the authors’ name, grade, school and country.  The organisers also reserve the right to publish the winning essays on their website.


  • THREE winners will be selected in total.  As all targets are equally scientifically interesting, winners will not be determined by which target they pick, only on how well they support their choice.
  • Once winners are selected, winners will be contacted and asked to provide a photograph to post on the NASA website along with the winning essays.  Parents/guardians must submit written authorization to let us post the photos online.
  • All participants will be given the opportunity to engage in a video chat with scientists and engineers who are involved in the Cassini mission, or doing research on Saturn and its moons.
  • Each winner will receive either a Kindle Paperwhite, 10X50 Pentax binoculars or an ArduSat Edu Kit. Prizes are subject to change.
  • The school with the highest total score of entries submitted by its students will be awarded the “Explorer Award”.


For any further inquiries, do not hesitate to contact us at

Submit Your Entry


The Cassini Scientist for a Day Essay Contest (Singapore Edition) is jointly organized by Woodlands YEC Youth Club and Astronomy.SG, with the support of the NUS Physics Department and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA.

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