NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is excited to announce that the 2016-17 edition of its Cassini Scientist for a Day essay contest will be taking place this year. Since the Cassini mission to Saturn will be ending on September 15, 2017, this will most likely be the last essay contest for the Cassini mission.

The contest is open to all students in grades 5-12 in the United States, as well as in over 50 other countries that have national contest coordinators.  Students may work alone or in groups of up to four students.  Students write an essay of up to 500 words about one of three possible imaging targets that the Cassini spacecraft has taken during the past few years.  Students will justify their choice as to which one they think would potentially yield the best science.

The 2016-17 essay contest topics are:

1.  The ice plumes at the south pole of Saturn’s moon, Enceladus
2.  The lakes of Titan
3.  The hexagon at Saturn’s north pole

The contest deadline is February 24, 2017 at noon, Pacific Time (3:00pm Eastern Time).  All essays must be submitted by the student’s teacher. Cassini scientists and educators will read all the entries and choose the winners.  Winners and their classes are invited to participate in a teleconference with Cassini scientists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

For contest rules, a a downloadable contest flyer, frequently asked questions, and more information, visit the contest’s webpage.  Short videos about each topic will be available on the contest website in the coming months.  The Cassini mission’s website can be found here.  Inquiries about the contest should be e-mailed to: