I read a cool post this week by Alan Boyle in his Cosmic Log entitled "Hey Kids! Join a Space Mission". It turns out that NASA is currently sponsoring a contest -- Cassini Scientist for a Day -- for kids in the United States in grades 5-12. Thanks for the heads-up, Alan!
On June 10, 2008, the contest winner(s) will get to control where the cameras are pointed for nearly an hour aboard the Cassini spacecraft, which is nearing Saturn. NASA scientists have already chosen the best three images to photograph: Rhea or Enceladus, both icy moons of Saturn, or Saturn's rings. Check out the Targets Overview to watch video clips about each choice.
Contest entrants have to write a convincing essay in 500 words or less about which of the three is best and why this choice will advance science. You can enter alone or in a group of up to four students (from grades 5-6, 7-8, or 9-12), but please note that the entries must be submitted by a teacher. The deadline for entry is noon Pacific time on May 8, 2008. If you have any questions, write to scientistforaday [at] jpl [dot] nasa [dot] gov.