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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I choose more than one image?

No, you have to choose just one imaging target in your essay. Being able to describe which target you think will return the most interesting scientific data is one of the main points of this activity.

Who can participate?

This contest is open to all students in the U.S. in grades 5 to 12. Entries will be divided between grades 5-6, grades 7-8, and grades 9-12

Can home-schooled students apply?


I am a U.S. citizen studying outside the United States. Can I enter?


I live in the U.S., and I'm enrolled in school, but I'm not a U.S. citizen. Can I still send you my entry?


Can students from different grades work together?

Yes, but you must indicate in which grade each student is. The highest-grade student in the group determines the grade category of the essay (i.e. if you are in 6th grade working with a student in 9th grade, the essay will be entered in the 9-12 grade group).

I have given this assignment to my classes as a project. Can I send all the essays I collected?

Yes, you are welcome to use this contest as a class assignment, and submit all essays to JPL so we can print a certificate for each of your participating students. However, 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 specifying which entries (up to five) from your class should be judged.

Is grammar important?

Yes, your peers -- the jury judging your essay -- must be able to comprehend your argument.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Send an email to