Scientist for a Day

Australian Contest Essay Submission Form

PLEASE NOTE: The form below is for Australian entries only.

If you are under 18, have a teacher submit the essay for you.

If students from different grades work together, the essay will be judged in the grade category of the oldest student on the team.

Fields marked with an asterisk(*) are required.

Scientist for a day Rules & FAQ

Australian Rules

Essay entries for the Australian contest must be received by April 1, 2020 at 5 p.m. Sydney time.
Teachers: If you make the essay a class assignment, please be sure to set an internal deadline for your students so that you have time to read your students’ essays and submit only the top three essays per class.

This opportunity is open to all students in Australia who are in grades 3 to 11.

  • 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 One Giant Leap Australia, NASA 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 four groups:

1. grades 3 to 4
2. grades 5 to 6
3. grades 7 to 8
4. grades 9 to 11


A winning essay will be selected for each topic in each grade group.

Write an essay (500 words maximum) explaining which of the three moons you think is most interesting and explain why. If you could send another spacecraft to explore your chosen moon in more detail, which of these three moons would you choose to visit? What do you hope you would learn?

  • There will be an official submission form for students in Australia.
  • By participating, students agree to assign copyright to One Giant leap Australia, NASA JPL so that JPL and NASA can post the essays, as excerpts or in their entirety, on One Giant Leap Australia social media platforms, NASA Web sites, along with the authors’ name, grade, school, city, and state.
  • Those participating in the Australian contest must use the submission form.
  • Entries must be submitted by teachers.
  • 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.
  • 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 names 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 authorisation to let us post the photos online.
  • The decision of the judges is final.
  • The winning Australian schools will be invited to participate in a teleconference or videoconference with NASA JPL scientists and/or engineers. NASA stickers, Australian Space Agency swag and other relevant prizes will be awarded.

How do I submit my student’s essay?

Teachers in Australia must use the online submission form on the left.

Who can participate in the essay contest?

This contest is open to all students in Australia in grades 3 to 11.

Can home-schooled students enter this essay contest?


Do I need to include citations or a bibliography?

Your teacher may require you to include citations and/or a bibliography if the essay is a class assignment. For the purposes of the contest, however, we don’t require one, and the judges won’t read bibliographies. You do not need to send us a bibliography along with your essay.

What is the prize for Australian (non U.S.) contest winners?

All Australian winners of the Scientist for a Day essay contest will have their essays posted on NASA’s Solar System Exploration website. Australian winners and their classes will be invited to participate in videoconferences or teleconferences with NASA scientists and/or engineers so the students can have their questions about the moons of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto answered. All participants will receive a certificate.

Can students at a Museum, Science Center, Astronomy Club or After-school program participate?

Yes, but please have your program coordinator contact us at for the details on how to submit.

Can I choose to write about more than one moon?

No, you have to choose just one moon 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?

The contest for students in Australia is only accepting essays in English.

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 and encouraged to use this contest as a class assignment. Please read the essays and send us ONLY the top three essays from each of your classes for us to judge. After submitting your students’ best essays, please email with a list of all the other students in your classes who wrote essays for the contest so that they can all receive certificates of participation.

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