NASA Scientist for a Day - Kaipūtaiao NASA mō te Rā

The New Zealand Space Agency is running its annual ‘NASA Scientist for a Day - Kaipūtaiao NASA mō te Rā’ writing and science competition during Term 1, 2021.

NASA scientist for a day banner

Note! The deadline for submitting essays has now been extended to 5pm Wednesday, 7 April 2021.

Science and English teachers of Years 7-10 are encouraged to register their interest via the link below.

Register your interest(external link)

About the competition

NASA Scientist for a Day - Kaipūtaiao NASA mō te Rā is a worldwide competition that NASA put on each year inviting students to write a 300-word essay to answer a question about our unique solar system and the exciting word of astronomy.

For the 2021 competition, students are asked to learn about three moons of Uranus — Ariel, Oberon and Titania, then write an essay of up to 300 words explaining which of these moons they would want to explore with a robotic spacecraft.

Winning students could win some seriously cool prizes and have their essays published by NASA and the New Zealand Space Agency!

The New Zealand Space Agency is encouraging teachers to take up further space education as part of their curriculum. Giving students an insight into the wonders of space and teaching space exploration is a powerful tool to inspire and engage their interest in STEM subjects and space careers.

  • Competition closes 5pm Wednesday, 7 April 2021
  • Teachers may submit up to 5 entries per class
  • Email your entries to nzspaceagency@mbie.govt.nz
  • Each student who completes an essay will receive a certificate of participation
  • A panel of judges will make the final decision
  • Stay tuned to Twitter(external link) for updates

2021 prizes

The overall winner of each category will receive a Sky-Watcher 6" Dobsonian telescope from Astronz and the help of the Southland Astronomical Society to learn how to use them.

Runners-up each receive binoculars from the Wellington Astronomical Society.

Teachers of the 10 finalists each receive a unique, 3D mini model of the planet Uranus plus NZ Space Agency stickers for their class.

2020 competition

Winners

Our two winners from 2020 were Sophie Ineson of Southland Girls High School (Year 7-8) and Oshadha Perera of Southland Boys High School (Year 9-10). Their winning essays can be read below.

Prizes

Sophie and Oshadha each received a Sky-Watcher 6″ Dobsonian telescope from Astronz and the help of the Southland Astronomical Society to learn how to use them. (We hope you’ve had lots of fun with your stargazing!) Thanks to the Wellington Astronomical Society for helping organise the prizes.

Last updated: 30 March 2021