scientist for a day 2021

This contest is brought to you by Planetarium Negara, MOSTI, AstroX and Spacevio. This initiative is an effort in conjunction with NASA’s Radioisotope Power Systems Program, the team that provides spacecraft with the power to visit some of the harshest, darkest, coldest locations in the solar system.

For this edition of the essay contest, we invite all students to explore three moons that NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft briefly visited during its historic journey through the solar system.

Your assignment is to study three of Uranus’ moons: Ariel, Oberon, and Titania. Then, choose the one you think would be the best place to return with another spacecraft someday.

Uranus' Moons

In January 1986, the mighty spacecraft reached the Uranus system. Voyager 2 took as many images as possible of anything within sight. Those were very brief visits, though, and we only know what one side of these faraway moons looks like.


Scientist for a Day
Essay Contest

Think like a  scientist and decide where to explore next. So let’s go back but to which moon?

Which of these three moons inspires you to explore further?

What excites you about what we’ve learned so far?

What do you hope we’ll find if we return to these places?

Support your choice in an essay of not more than 300 words.

The essays of the winning students will be published on AstroX’s website.

The winners from each category will also receive RM300 cash prize per each category.

Good Luck!

The Scientist for a Day AstroX Team


Rules & Frequently Asked Questions

Deadline: Essay entries must be received by the 31st of August 2021 before midnight.

  • Students can work alone or in teams of up to three students.
  • All submissions must be students’ original work. Entries containing plagiarized material will be disqualified.
  • Each student may submit only one entry.
  • Essays that are longer than 300 words will be disqualified.
  • The names and contact information will not be included in the word count for the 300-word essay. No personally identifying information (name, school name, city, or state) should be included in the body of the essay.
  • For the purpose of this contest, students do not need to include a bibliography. 
  • Use only plain text (no images or attachments). Attachments cannot be accepted. Do not include URLs (links to websites) in the body of the essay.
  • 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.
  • Essays will only be judged in comparison with other essays from the same age range and topic:
    1. Category A: Ages between 10 to 12.
    2. Category B: Ages between 13 to 15.
    3. Category C: Ages between 16 to 18.
  • Topics: 1: Ariel, 2: Oberon, or 3: Titania.
  • The contest winners will be selected by a panel of judges and the results will be final.
Who can enter this essay contest?

This opportunity is open to Malaysian students ONLY who are between the ages of 10 to 18 years old.

What must my essay be about?

Write an essay (300 words maximum) about which of the three moons you think is most interesting, and explain why. If you could send a spacecraft to explore your chosen moon in more detail, which of these three moons would you choose to visit? What do you think you might learn, based on what is already known?

How do I submit my essay?

Participants must use the online submission form. Please only submit each essay once. The online entry form is located below.

Do I need to include citations or a bibliography?

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 contest winners?

All winners of the Scientist for a Day essay contest will have their essays posted on AstroX’s website. In addition, a cash prize of RM300 will be awarded to the winner from each category.

What do I get if I do not win?

Each participant will receive an e-certificate of participation from us.

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.

Does my essay have to be written in English?

We highly recommend that you submit your essay in English. However, we will still accept essays in the Malay language.

Is grammar important?

Yes, the panel judging your essay must be able to comprehend your argument.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Do send an email to so that we can assist you. Thank you.

Essay Submission Form

(300 words maximum)