scientist for a day 2021

We are pleased to announce the following winning entries from each category:
Category A: Melvin Dass from Sek. Keb. Saint Joseph, Johor Bahru, Johor.
Category B: Claire Joann Ong from Sek. Men. Keb. Batu Lintang, Kuching, Sarawak.
Category C: Matthewdass Sandanadass from Sek. Men. Keb. Sultan Ismail, Johor Bahru, Johor.
We want to congratulate the three winners named above on their exceptional essays on display below. We would also like to thank everyone for your essay submission. We are thrilled by the number of submissions we received, totalling 1,234 entries. Planetarium Negara will be sending out the e-certificates to your email accounts. We want to thank everyone again for participating in the Scientist for a Day 2021 essay contest.

Essay by Melvin Dass

“I would like to die on Mars just not on impact”, by Elon Musk clearly portrays the importance of space exploration to humanity. Thus, today I would like to share my research idea about Ariel, the moon of Uranus.

First, humans always wanted to travel through space and settle on other planets. The big problem is “time” as important materials for astronauts run out. With that in mind, Ariel could be one of the moon landing basements for refueling their rockets.

Furthermore, Ariel shows a positive sign for the presence of water mixed with tholins which could be found a lot on its surface. From a biology point of view, Ariel could be a place for astrobiological field development. We could expect to find other life such as extremophiles due to the presence of water. This can be a good start to explore even more of the lives out there in space. I am pretty sure that we are not the only one in this galaxy.

Ariel is the best to send a rover for discovery because it shows that humans can live here. Ariel has an enough amount of carbon dioxide in its atmosphere due to tholins. This tholin also had increased the temperature of Ariel. The Tholins found on the surface of Ariel have methane which can be used as rocket fuel if needed to refuel.

Essay by Claire Joann Ong

Someday, I would like to return in a spacecraft to Titania. Of all the moons surrounding Uranus, I think Titania would be worth exploring because it shows potentials for the sustainability of lives.

Firstly, Titania shows the strongest gravity among Uranus’ moons. With a gravity of about 4 percent of Earth’s, it is less likely for chunks of Titania to break off and drift into space. Due to its stronger gravity, I could build houses for accommodation without the fear of breaking off from its centre point.

Next, due to Uranus’ axis which is tilted at around 98 degrees, Titania would be experiencing harsh temperatures and a shortage of oxygen. Titania has a temperature of -203 Celcius which freezes any living being. In addition, large quantities of carbon dioxide make breathing impossible. If I were able to invent special suits that could sustain the harsh temperature and gasses, I may be able to live in Titania comfortably. These suits would include an oxygen circulatory system and a heat insulator to enable me to breathe and maintain my body temperature. These protective suits would be powered by rechargeable batteries that could last for 72 hours.

Finally, Titania may have water sources which are one of the essential elements to human survival. I could tap into these sources and create renewable energy to power my house. In Titania, I can choose to live near the equator, where I might be able to experience a “normal” day-night cycle. If I stay there, I would choose the years that Titania receives light so that I could explore the other side of the moon without wasting too many energy resources.

In brief, I think Titania shows potential for human civilisation. Who knows, I could even co-exist with its native inhabitants.

Essay by Matthewdass Sandanadass

“Imagination is more important than knowledge”, by Albert Einstein motivates people of all ages to contemplate the secrets of the cosmos. Well, I would like to draw your attention to one of the moons of Uranus namely, Ariel.

To begin with, humans always wanted to travel through space and colonize other planets such as Proxima Centauri b which is located 4.2 lightyears to sustain life. But time factor hinders this as the raw materials run out. With that in mind, Ariel could be one of the moon landing basements for refueling their rockets. In short, Ariel could be a suitable moon landing base.

Talking about water, Ariel shows a positive for the presence of water. This can be proven with the physics of electromagnetic induction using Lenz law which proves the magnetic field around Ariel is caused by the magnetic field of saltwater, (a current carrying electrolyte). From a biology point of view, Ariel could be a place for astrobiological field development. As scientists, we could expect to find primitive extraterrestrial life such as extremophiles which live by chemosynthesis. This can be a stepping stone to explore even more of the lives out there in space.

Ariel is said to be the best candidate to send a rover for discovery because it shows positive signs humans can live here. Ariel has an adequate amount of CO2 in its atmosphere due to tholins which relatively had increased its temperature. The Tholins (a compound formed through pyrolysis and radiolysis naturally) found on the surface of Ariel have methane (CH4) which can be used as rocket fuel if needed to refuel. Maybe, Tholins with immense benefits could be a reason for us to go to Ariel. We never know. Space is filled with mysteries yet to be discovered.

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.