Category Archives: Essay Competition

Aeronautics Competition for High School Students

The Fundamental Aeronautics Program of the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters announces a new aeronautics competition for high school students for the 2007-2008 academic year.

High school students are challenged to write a research paper to explain ideas for a future aircraft that could become the “DC-3” for cargo and passengers in the year 2058. Descriptions should be well-informed and include sections on fuel, environmental effects, noise levels, runway length and condition, operating costs, passenger and cargo loads, and service operations. Final entries are due on March 15, 2008.

Any U.S. student enrolled in an accredited high school or home school in the United States or its territories is eligible to enter the competition for cash prizes. Non-U.S. citizens and students in international locations can enter as well, but they are not eligible for cash prizes. Trophies and certificates will be awarded to each winner, regardless of citizenship.

For complete details, visit

Astronomy Essay Contest – Ages 5-18

Dale Lowdermilk, Meteorite Collector and Lecturer with the Santa Barbara Astonomical Unit (SBAU), is conducting an exciting new Astronomy Essay Contest for children and young adults ages 5-18.  Assigned essay questions are based on age groups.  Hand written entries submitted with self addressed, stamped envelopes will receive fragments of stony meteorites!

To Learn more about the contest, including the official rules and essay questions, please visit the contest flyer on the first page of the following website:

Visit the following website for more information about the Santa Barbara Astronomical Unit, including upcoming events and tips for watching the skies:

2008 Thacher Scholar Awards Seek Secondary Student Applications

GES is now accepting entries for the 2008 Thacher Scholars Award, to be given to secondary school students demonstrating the best use of geospatial tools or data to study our home planet. U.S. students in grades 9-12 are eligible for the cash awards. For each winning student, a teacher or designated adult “coach” will receive a $200 gift card. Entries must be postmarked by April 4, 2008. Visit the IGES website for details.


The Fundamental Aeronautics Program of the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters announces a new aeronautics competition for high school and college students for the 2007-2008 academic year. The new aeronautics competition encourages high school and college students to share their ideas of future aircraft with NASA for a chance to receive trophies, student internship offers and cash prizes. Students will write about the next generation of aircraft, what they would look like and how they would operate.

For the competition, high school students will write a research paper that explains ideas for a future aircraft that could revolutionize passenger and cargo travel in the year 2058. Papers should include sections on fuel, environmental effects, noise levels, runway length and conditions, operating costs, passenger and cargo loads, and service operations.

A group of federal, university, industry and other expert representatives will judge the high school entries, which are limited to 12 pages. Entries will be judged on how well students focus their essays and meet four basic criteria: informed content, creativity and imagination, organization, and writing. Subject to availability of funds, team entries can win cash awards up to $1,500 and individual entries up to $1,000.

College students are challenged to write about their designs for the next generation of 21st-century aircraft. Design considerations include reduced environmental impact, reduced noise, daily operations on short runways, cost analysis for production and operation, passenger and cargo limits, structure and materials, and engines.  Students should also briefly describe three valid scenarios for potential use of this vehicle in the year 2058.

Each college entry is limited to 25 pages and must be sponsored by a supervising or advising faculty member. Winning entries may be invited to a student forum sponsored by NASA and/or industry, receive offers of student internships, and receive other prizes, including up to $5,000 cash, depending on available funds.

College entries will be judged by how well they address all aspects of the problem they chose to discuss, including the following criteria: innovation and creativity, discussion of feasibility, a brief review of current literature, and a baseline comparison with the relevant current technology, system or design.

These two competitions have different eligibility and submission requirements. To learn more about the competition, visit:

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“It’s Your Environment” Essay Contest

Today’s pressing environmental problems need innovative solutions.  Scholastic and the American Museum of Natural History invite students in grades 6-10 to submit their winning innovations in the “youinnovate21…It’s Your Environment” challenge.

To enter, students need to write a 300-500 word essay explaining the environmental problem they want to solve, their idea, how it will solve the problem , and how they would let people know about the innovation.  Winning innovations will be selected based on creativity, scientific and practical soundness, writing skills.

The deadline for entries is December 15. Students may enter as an individual or as a class. For complete contest rules, click on the You Innovate button at

ESA SUCCESS Essay Competition for University Students in Europe

The European Space Agency’s SUCCESS student contest is for European university students from all disciplines, up to the level of master’s degree candidates or the equivalent. Students are invited to propose an experiment that could fly on board the International Space Station. The goal of the competition is to make today’s students the space station users of tomorrow. Students studying fields ranging from life sciences to technology to Earth observation are encouraged to apply.

To participate, students must describe their experiment idea in an essay of no more than 800 words. Essays must be written in English and submitted electronically. Participating students also have to be a national of one of the ESA member states: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The winner of the SUCCESS student contest will receive a one-year paid internship at ESA’s space research and technology center in the Netherlands. During this internship, the winner can work with ESA specialists on their experiment to prepare it for flight to the space station. Essays are due Feb. 1, 2008.

For more information, visit:

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Apply Now for the Cassini Scientist for a Day Contest

Applications for the Cassini Scientist for a Day Contest are Due Nov. 15

The Cassini Scientist for a Day contest challenges students to be a NASA scientist studying Saturn. Participants are challenged to examine four target images taken by Cassini and choose the one that they think will yield the best scientific results. This choice must then be explained in a 500-word essay.

The contest is open to all students in the U.S. from grade 5 to 12, working alone or in groups of up to four students. The essays will be divided into two groups: grades 5-8 and grades 9-12. All submissions must be students’ original work. Each student can submit only one entry.

Deadline for submission is Nov. 15, 2007. For more information, visit:


NASA 50th Anniversary Essay Contest for Students

The NASA 50th Anniversary Essay Competition for middle and junior high school students is now accepting entries. The competition consists of two separate topics, each with a limit of 500 words. The first topic challenges students to describe how they benefit in their everyday lives from space technologies built by NASA over the last 50 years. The second topic requires students to imagine how their everyday lives will have changed because of NASA space technology in the next 50 years.

Students may submit two separate essays, each responding to a separate topic. Participants must be U.S. students in grades 5-9 and under the age of 15.

Final entries are due on or before Jan. 7, 2008. For more information, visit:

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