Scientist for a Day – Introduction

December 5, 2018
CreditNASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory-Caltech
  • english

Welcome to the Scientist for a Day 2018-2019 essay contest.

More about the Contest ›


Host: Amruta Mehta

Hi! Welcome to the Scientist for a Day 2018-2019 essay contest.

I work in the Launch Approval Engineering group. Our group makes sure that spacecraft launches go off without a hitch.

Over the past few decades, NASA missions such as Voyager, Galileo and Cassini toured the outer solar system. All of these missions used radioisotope thermoelectric generators, which convert heat to electricity to power the spacecraft. This technology enables spacecraft to explore regions where solar power is not an option.

Scientists are intrigued by the results from these past missions, and they want to explore these worlds further.

For this edition of the contest, we picked three fascinating moons, each with a story to tell: Enceladus, Titan and Europa.

Your assignment is to learn about these destinations and pick the one moon that you think will be most interesting to visit again.

The first is Enceladus.

This moon of Saturn is covered in ice. It has beautiful tiger stripes and it literally spits out water and organic molecules hundreds of miles into the sky.

The second is Titan.

That's also one of Saturn's moons.

We found that this moonhas huge lakes of liquid methane and a very thick atmosphere.

And, the third choice is Europa.

That's a moon of Jupiter.

It is icy on the outside but underneath that ice scientists believe that there's a liquid water ocean underneath. And like on Earth, that it touches a solid rocky core.

So, what else could be underneath that ice?

Learn as much as you can about these amazing moons, and then pick the one that interests you the most.

Write an essay and tell us why.

We're very excited to know what you like best.

Good luck!