Follow this link to skip to the main content

Benefits of Participating in the Essay Contest

Benefits of Participating in the Essay Contest

Cassini at Saturn
Artist's rendition of the Cassini spacecraft arriving at Saturn.

The Cassini Scientist for a Day Essay Contest can be used as a classroom writing assignment in either English or Science classes. The assignment involves both inquiry-based learning and problem-based learning.

The essay contest meets various U.S. National Standards for English and Science set by the National Council of Teachers of English / International Reading Association, and the National Research Council.

For a complete list, visit the English & Science Education Standards.


  By participating in the essay contest,
  students will:

  • Work with a real, current NASA mission
  • Apply their critical thinking skills
  • Learn how to conduct research
  • Gain confidence in their ability to "do science"
  • See themselves in the roles of scientists
  • Watch videos by young Cassini scientists and engineers, and see that scientists and engineers come from diverse backgrounds
  • See that scientists have different opinions and priorities when choosing where their spacecraft will target images
  • Learn something new, and form questions about a place they may never have heard of
  • Applying their writing skills

  • The essays of winning students will be published on NASA's Cassini website
  • Winning students and their classes will have the opportunity to ask questions of NASA scientists in a teleconference
  • All participating students receive a certificate with the images of the three imaging targets (essay topics)