Cassini Scientist For A Day Essay Contest 2011 Movie

A swing high above Saturn by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft revealed this stately view of the golden-hued planet and its main rings. The view is in natural color, as human eyes would have seen it. This mosaic was made from 36 images in three color filters obtained by Cassini’s imaging science subsystem on Oct. 10, 2013. The observation and resulting image mosaic were planned as one of three images for Cassini’s 2013 Scientist for a Day essay contest.

Saturn sports differently colored bands of weather in this image. For instance, a bright, narrow wave of clouds around 42 degrees north latitude appears to be some of the turbulent aftermath of a giant storm that reached its violent peak in early 2011. The mysterious six-sided weather pattern known as the hexagon is visible around Saturn’s north pole.

When Cassini arrived in 2004, more of the northern hemisphere sported a bluish hue and it was northern winter. The golden tones dominated the southern hemisphere, where it was southern summer. But as the seasons have turned and northern spring is in full swing, the colors have begun to change in each hemisphere as well. Golden tones have started to dominate in the northern hemisphere and the bluish color in the north is now confined to a tighter circle around the north pole. The southern hemisphere has started getting bluer, too.

The rings shown here include Saturn’s main rings. The rings known as the C, B and A rings — listed here in order of closeness to Saturn — are easily seen. The F ring is also there, but not easily seen without enhancing the contrast of the image. (Rings were named in order of their discovery rather than their position around Saturn.) The rings also cast a shadow on Saturn at the limb of the planet in the lower right quadrant.

Cassini is currently in a set of tilted orbits known as “inclined orbits” that allow it to swing up over the north pole and below the south pole. Much of Cassini’s time is spent close to the equatorial plane, where most of Saturn’s rings and moons are located.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team consists of scientists from the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit and

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Cornell

via Jewel of the Solar System | NASA.

Bachelors Student

Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and Information Technology, University Politehnica of Bucharest


“When everything seems to be going against you, 

remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it”

Short biography

I am currently a senior student majoring in Microelectronics, Nanotechnology and Optoelectronics. My passions include space technology, robotics, travelling and public-speaking. Recently, I was awarded the “Hans von Muldau Prize for the Best Team Project” at the International Astronautical Congress(IAC) in Beijing, China and the “Best Student Award” at the League of Romanian Students Studying Abroad (LSRS) Gala. (LSRS 2014). My presentation at the IAC can be seen here: Investigation of the surface deformation and dendritic solidification of titanium alloy melted in miligravity Talk. The awarding ceremony can be viewed here. I also received the General Electric Scholar-Leader Award.
This summer, I had an internship at CERN, in Geneva where I studied the Impact of Temperature on Jitter and Phase for Timing, Trigger and Control Systems for High Energy Physics.

Education and Professional Experience



  • 2011 to present: Student at “Polytechnic University of Bucharest”, Faculty of Electronics, Telecommunications and IT (freshman grade: 9.94; sophomore grade: 9.82; junior grade: 9.69).
  • 2007 – 2011: “Tudor Vianu” National High School of Computer Science, Bucharest – with the overall grade of 9.91
  • 1999 – 2007: „Dimitrie Sturdza” Secondary School – with the overall grade of 9.99

My office at CERN

Professional Experience

06/2014 to 09/2014 – CERN SUMMER SCHOOL

2013 – AUSTRIAN SPACE FORUM (volunteering)

  • Task: helping the organisation of World Space Week

2013 to present – VOFAIR and co-founder of TRAVOL (volunteering)

  • Tasks: working on the INTRANET of VOFAIR and developing the TRAVOL which is a mobile application that links travellers and volunteers(TRAVOL Presentation)

07/2012 to 08/2012 – ORANGE ROMANIA

  • Task: testing Oracle Applications using an Oracle Application Testing Suite

2010 to 2013 – AEPADO (European Association for Defence of Human Rights)

Space Technology and Robotics


2012 – 2014


My team with the experiment during the Launch Campaign

  • Description: The REXUS/BEXUS programme is realised under a bilateral Agency Agreement between the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB). The Swedish share of the payload has been made available to students from other European countries through a collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA). The REXUS/BEXUS programme allows students from universities and higher education colleges across Europe to carry out scientific and technological experiments on research rockets and balloons. Our team, entitled LOW GRAVITY , proposed an experiment of studying the melting and welding process of several titanium alloys covered with nanotubes using a LASER diode of 25W.
  • My tasks as a team leader:
    • Proposal development for Selection Workshop
    • Decision-making in the design of the experiment
    • LASER and other components selection
    • Preparation of the metal samples and anodization to obtain TiO2 nanotubes
    • Thermal tests in Solidworks and Ansys
    • Vibrations tests using an industrial shaker
    • Mechanics and electronics involvement if needed
    • Documentation and presentations writing
    • Post-flight analysis
  • Website:Low Gravity
  • Number of team members: Beginning: 5 (Sorina Lupu, Ioana Ciuca, Laura Manoliu, Claudiu Cherciu, Camil Muresan), Recruited: 5 (Claudia Chitu, Dan Dragomir, Costel Nachila, Ion Ciobanu, Cristian Soare)
  • Duration: from 1st of November 2012 to 1st of November 2014 with the phases: Selection Workshop, Preliminary Design Review, Critical Design Review, Integration Progress Review, Experiment Acceptance Review, Integration Week, Bench Test, Final Launch.
  • Watch the Launch


NASA Butterflies on Space Research Project

  • Description: Our team was in charge of growing Vanessa Cardui butterflies and compare their emerge from cocoons and life-cycle with the ones sent to the International Space Station.
  • My tasks included:
    • Finding the provider with larvae of Vanessa Cardui
    • Developing a research poster about the comparsion between Vanessa Cardui on Earth and in Space
  • Number of team members: 4
  • Duration: Several months
  • Award: Honourable Mention
  • Website with our research can be seen here

NASA Starcount Quest

  • Description: Our team was in charge with studying the magnitude of stars in our city, to determine the level of light pollution.
  • My tasks included:
    • Writing a research document
    • Presenting the project to different delegates coming to our high-school
  • Website with our research can be seen here

NASA High Resolution Imaging Science Quest

  • Description: Our team was in charge of studying different Mars images and explain why they should be thoroughly studied for water presence.
  • My task included: Writing a research document
  • Website with our research can be seen here

NASA Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica Quest

  • Description: The Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA) is the first-ever true-color high-resolution satellite view of the Antarctic continent enabling everyone to see Antarctica as it appears in real life. Our team was in charge of writing a proposal which emphasizes the importance of several features presented in the images.
  • My tasks included:
    • Writing a research document
    • Presenting the project to different European delegates coming to our high-school
  • Website with our research can be seen here

Competitions – Space Technology

2012 – 2014

NASA Lunabotics Mining Competition

Our team and the robot at NASA Lunabotics Mining Competition

  • Description: NASA Lunabotics Mining Competition organized at Kennedy Space Center is for university-level students to design and build a mining robot that can traverse the simulated Lunar terrain, excavate regolith and deposit the regolith into a Collector Bin within 10 minutes. Currently, this competition was replaced with “NASA’s Annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition” which involved simulated Martian terrain. Our robot can be seen here
  • As I was a freshman student, I had the opportunity to learn from older students. My tasks included:
    • Helping with electronics and mechanics when needed
    • Writing the Paper Engineering that was juried separately from the robot
    • Presenting the project in front of a NASA jury
  • Number of Team Members: 7

2008 – 2011

NASA Green Aviation Competition

  • Description: The challenge was to submit ideas and designs for aircraft or engine concepts and technologies that would assist in meeting the project’s goals for more environmentally friendly aviation by the year 2020. Those goals include better fuel economy, fewer emissions, less noise and better performing airplanes.
  • My tasks included:
    • Finding ideas and develop the research paper
    • Designing the movie in 3dsmax
  • Number of team members: 2
  • Award: Second Prize
  • Movie in 3dsmax of the plane here
  • Article from NASA here<

NASA “Humans in Space” Youth Art Competition

  • Description: The competition was in charge of inspiring teenagers to develop their art skills with space themes. I and my colleague were in charge of building a software in Macromedia Flash as a game to inspire children to learn about planets.
  • Number of team members: 2
  • Award: First Prize

Cassini – Scientist for a day Competition

  • Description: Cassini Scientist for a Day is an essay contest designed to give students a taste of life as a scientist. Students compare and research three possible targets that the Cassini spacecraft can image during a given time set aside for education. They are to choose the one observation they think will yield the best science results and explain their reasons in an essay.
  • Number of team members: 4
  • Award: Third Prize


Our Moonbuggy that ran at the race in Alabama

Best Design Award.We received a piece of a flag that flew on board of ISS

  • Description: The Annual Great Moonbuggy Race is held in April in Huntsville, Alabama, at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. Students are required to design a vehicle that addresses a series of engineering problems that are similar to problems faced by the original Moonbuggy team.
  • My tasks included:
    • Designing the moonbuggy car
    • Writing the Design Paper that was juried separately from the robot
    • Developing the stickers and brochures
  • Number of Team Members: 6
  • Awards: Best Design and Team Spirit
  • Website with our research can be seen here

Robochallenge National Competition

  • Description: During this competition, the robots try to push the competitor off the ring, as in the traditional Japanese martial arts. For this contest, I build a microsumo robot using Arduino Nano and I won First Prize

Freescale Cup

  • Description: Together with 3 team mates, we build an autonomous car that is able to follow a line with high speed. At the National Phase, we were awarded First Prize and were able to compete at the International level at Fraunhofer Institute, Erlangen. My tasks included mechanics design in SolidWorks and soldering prototype boards.

Fairs and National Project

2008 – 2011

    • Participation in a project organized by CERN with the soft “You too can search for the Higgs Boson” build in Macromedia Flash
    • National Inventika and Creation Fair, Romexpo with the Moonbuggy prototype

Award: Second Prize

    • Distinction from the Minister of Education and Chamber of Deputies for the awards received in the NASA Great Moonbuggy Race
    • Biology Workshop – with the project Global Warming – friend or enemy

Award: First Prize

    • National Competition of Virtual Learning with the project „Electrostatics”
    • Soft Competition „Discover and Explore – Teach and Learn – Build and Share

Award: Second Prize

  • Organizer of the International Year of Astronomy and World Space Week in my high school during 2008 and 2009

Olympiads and University Projects

2012 – 2013

    • CERN Summer Student Sessions
        Topic: “Temperature Impact on Timing, Trigger and Control Systems for High Energy Physics”
    • CERN PH-ESE-BE Students/Fellow Seminars
        Topic: “Impact of Temperature on jitter and phase in TTC System Elements”
    • Communication Session of the Mechanics Department of Polytechnic University of Bucharest with the presentation “LOW Gravity Project – investigation of physical deformation on titanium alloy after being melted and welded in miligravity”

Award: Grand Prize

    • Communication Session of the Physics Department of Polytechnic University of Bucharest with the presentation “LIDAR Systems in Romania”

Award: Second Prize

    • Communication Session of the Graphics in Engineering Department of Polytechnic University of Bucharest with the presentation “Educational Soft for learning Curves and Surfaces”

Award: Honourable Mention

    • Ion Agarbiceanu Contest – physics competition organized by Polytechnic University of Bucharest

5th place

  • 2005 – 2011 – Awards and participations in Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science Olympiads (city levels)
  • 2004 Participation in the National Olympiad of Computer Science, Buzau

Public Speaking and Journalism

2010 – 2014

In the Main Auditorium, the same place where Higgs Boson was announced.

    • TEDx Reghin Speech – Theme: How to love space?
    • CERN Summer Student Sessions – Topic: “Temperature Impact on Timing, Trigger and Control Systems for High Energy Physics”
    • CERN PH-ESE-BE Students/Fellow Seminars – Topic: “Impact of Temperature on jitter and phase in TTC System Elements”
    • Debate Romania National Competition organized by Dan Voiculescu Foundation

Award: Best Speaker

    • International School of Bucharest Model United Nations

Award: Honourable Mention

  • Participation in Slovenia International Model United Nations and in the European Youth Parliament – Regional Selection
  • Organizer of the International Competition „Be aware! Not addicted!”
  • Organizer of the charity project „Christmas in a child soul!”
  • Participation in the National Phase of the contest organized by JA Romania „ Student Company”
  • Organizer of the “Dialogue across boundaries” – a project which celebrated the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue

Camps and Summer Schools

  • 2013 – Alpbach Summer School, Alpbach, Austria (organized by the European Space Agency)
  • 2013 – Leadership Development Programme, Budapest, Hungary
  • 2012 – Training Course “Combating Discrimination against Roma people and Migrants”, Strasbourg, France
  • 2012 – Robochallenge Summer School, Bucharest, Romania (learn how to design, built and program robots)
  • 2011 – International Youth Meetings Cabuenes, Gijon, Spain (presentations regarding sustainability and environment)
  • 2010 – ISSC (International Science Summer Camp), Vilnius, Lithuania (factory visits, science lectures)
  • 2009 – Summer School – Cambridge University – English Courses (A grade – advanced)
  • 2008 – Summer School PHY (physics and computer science lectures)
      Award: Honourable Mention
  • 2008 – Journalism Summer School, Costinesti, Romania

List of Publications

  1. Birgit Ritter, Arjan J. H. Meskers, Oscar Miles, Michael Rußwurm, Stephen Scully, Andrés Roldán, Oliver Hartkorn, Peter Jüstel, Victor Réville, Sorina Lupu, Alexis Ruffenach A Space Weather Information Service Based Upon Remote and In-Situ Measurements of Coronal Mass Ejections Heading for Earth
  2. Sebastian Hettrich, Aline Dinkelaker, Ali Alizadeh, Elena Sorina Lupu, Isabella Pfeil, Leila Ghasemzadeh, Efstratia Salteri, Carmen Victoria Felix, Tilo Kauerhoff, Jane LInda MacArthur, Geraldine Marien, Andreas Rieser, Nina Sejkora, “Planning strategies for Mars (analog) missions: real-time, 3-days-in-advance and 1-day-in-advance planning;” SpaceOps Conference, California(2014)
  3. Elena Sorina Lupu, Claudiu Cherciu, Ioana Ciuca, Laura Manoliu, Marius Dan Dragomir, Costel Nachila, Claudia Chitu, Ion Ciobanu, Camil Muresan, Cristian Soare “Investigation of the surface deformation and dendritic solidification of titanium alloy melted in miligravity” International Astronautical Congress, Beijing, China (2013)
  4. Aline Dinkelaker, Sebastian Hettrich, Elena Sorina Lupu, Leila Ghasemzadeh, Agnieszka Sekula, Ali Alizadeh, Norbert Frischauf, Izabela Gołębiowska, Gernot Groemer, Natalie Jones, Tilo Kauerhoff, Anna Losiak, Jane MacArthur, Linda Moser, Isabella Pfeil, Christoph Ragonig, Barbara Ramirez,Quentin Scornet, Nina Sejkora, Alexander Soucek “THE MISSION AND ACTIVITY PLANNING STRATEGY FOR THE MARS2013 MISSION” International Astronautical Congress, Beijing, China (2013)
  5. Ioana Stoica, Lupu Elena Sorina “You Too Can Search For The Higgs Boson!” Conference of Virtual Learning – Virtual Reality (ISSN 1844 – 8933 page 522) (2011)
  6. Lupu Elena Sorina, Radoi Horia, Ioana Stoica “Electrostatics” Conference of Virtual Learning – Virtual Reality (page 175) (2008)
  7. Lupu Elena Sorina“GIS – Geographic Information Systems” Youth Folder Magazine ISSN 1843-9853 (2008)
  8. Lupu Elena Sorina“SUDOKU – Software and Strategy” Youth Folder Magazine ISSN 1843-9853 (2008)
  9. Lupu Elena Sorina“Teleportation” Youth Folder Magazine ISSN 1843-9853 (2008)

Painting Awards

  • 2009 – Honourable Mention – National Competition „Icons on glass”
  • 2006 – Best Debut Award – National Competition “Icons on glass”



Travelling the world

Europe: Germany, Spanin, France, United Kingdom, Sweden, The Netherlands, Hungary, Serbia, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Greece, Bulgaria;

North America: United States: Arizona, Alabama, Florida, Georgia;

Asia: People’s Republic of China, Turkey;

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