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Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Who can participate in the essay contest?

This contest is open to all students in the U.S. in grades 5 to12. Parallel contests are being run in other countries around the world. For a list of participating countries, visit the international pages.

My country doesn’t have a contest, but I would like to participate. What can I do?

- If your country has a space agency, ask if they would like to host a Cassini Scientist for a Day contest in your country.

- Some countries don’t have national coordinators, but there may be a contest available to students in your region.

- You can always do the research and write the essay anyway. It’s good practice for writing essays in college or university, even if you don’t write the essay for the purpose of entering the contest.

Can I choose to write about 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.

English is not my first language. Does my essay have to be written in English?

- Each country that participates in the essay contest may choose the language(s) in which entries will be accepted. It depends in part on the languages the contest judges can read. Check the rules for your country’s version of the contest. The contest for students in the United States is only accepting essays in English.

Can home-schooled students enter this essay contest?

I live in the United States, and I’m enrolled in school, but I’m not a United States citizen. Can I still send my entry to enter the U.S. contest?
Can students from different grades work together?

Yes, but you must indicate the grade level for each student who wrote the essay, and the essay will be judged in the grade category of the oldest student who collaborated on the essay.

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

You are welcome to use this contest as a class assignment and submit all essays to the contest so we can acknowledge each student who participates. 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 e-mail to (or to your country’s national coordinator, if you’re not in the United States) 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 e-mail to or to your country’s national essay contest coordinator, if you’re not in the United States.