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Contest Rules -- Spring 2014 Edition

Contest Rules -- 2014 Edition

archived contest

+ Frequently Asked Questions

Deadline: Essay contest entries must be received by Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.

- This opportunity is open to all students in the United States who are in grades 5 to 12.

- Students from countries other than the United States should contact the national essay contest organizer(s) in their own country. We will add a page with contacts soon.

- 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.

- Each student may submit only one entry.

- Do not include direct contact information for students under age 18. All communication will be conducted between JPL and the students' teacher.

- Essays that 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). 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
- grades 9 to 12


- The spacecraft will image all three targets -- there will be a winner for each target in each grade group.

- Write an essay (500 words maximum) explaining which one of the three possible 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?


- 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 Web sites, along with the authors' name, grade, school, city, and state.

- Those participating in the United States contest must use the submission form, which will be ready soon.

- Have your teacher submit your entries.


- 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.? After submitting your students' best essays, please email us a list of all the students in your classes who wrote essays for the contest.

- 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 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.


- 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 with Cassini scientists.


  • Blend space exploration with reading and writing -- Reading, Writing & Rings!
  • Cassini Scientist for a Day -- Students get involved
  • Cassini Raw Images