GPM Anime Challenge

UPDATE 10/19/15: We have developed an educational comic using the winning characters from the GPM Anime Challenge. Click here to read "Raindrop Tales: GPM Meets Mizu-Chan"


UPDATE 7/1/13: We have selected the winners of the GPM Anime Challenge! Click here to view the results.






GPM Anime Challenge example character

​Anime is a Japanese style of animation popular around the world. Anime characters have filled television shows and comics, and inspired costumes and educational activities. The Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM) and our partners at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) are holding a design challenge for people around the world to develop an Anime character for GPM. You will need to learn about the GPM mission and science themes, including the water cycle, weather and climate, technology, and societal applications, and incorporate them into your Anime character design.

The winning character will star in a comic series that will teach students about GPM and precipitation science!

What is GPM?

GPM Logo: Global Precipitation Measurement

Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) is an international satellite mission to provide next-generation observations of rain and snow worldwide every three hours. NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will launch a “Core” satellite carrying advanced instruments that will set a new standard for precipitation measurements from space. The data they provide will be used to unify precipitation measurements made by an international network of partner satellites to quantify when, where, and how much it rains or snows around the world. The GPM mission will help advance our understanding of Earth's water and energy cycles, improve the forecasting of extreme events that cause natural disasters, and extend current capabilities of using satellite precipitation information to directly benefit society.

Why is it important to measure precipitation?

The movement of water and energy around Earth affects agriculture, fresh water availability, and the occurrence of natural disasters. In many parts of the world, rain is the only source of water for both drinking water and agriculture. Rain also recharges ground water aquifers, and spring snowmelt replenishes rivers and streams for the summer. Having too much or too little water often results in natural disasters for populations around the world, where tropical cyclones, floods, droughts, and landslides can wreak havoc on local communities. Having accurate information on rain and snow is critical for estimating when to plant crops, where to build houses, how to plan transportation routes, and to what extent we need assistance during extreme weather. Since rainfall and snowfall vary greatly from place to place and over time, satellites such as the GPM constellation can provide more uniform observations of rain and snow around the globe than ground instruments, especially in areas where surface measurements are difficult.

How does GPM benefit society?

Understanding how much it rains or snows around our planet is important for a range of different areas. We can learn more about how hurricanes intensify and move, where and when we should plant crops, how diseases such as malaria may spread, where we could get floods or landslides or droughts, and how storms evolve in the tropics to the poles.

Developing your Character

The main goal in developing your character should be to demonstrate the educational themes of the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission. So before you start you design, take some time to learn about GPM and how it benefits society. These educational webquests can help you get started:

Once you've learned about GPM, you should integrate this knowledge into your character so it can be used to teach others. Your character should also be visually interesting to get people excited about precipitation science, and should have a unique characterization and backstory that we can build educational materials off of. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • What does the character look like? Show off your art skills and make the most dynamic and interesting Anime character possible. You can use any materials you wish - paint, markers, pencils, digital tools - its up to you!
  • What is their origin and back story? How did they get where they are today, and what are their goals and motivations?
  • Do they have any special powers or abilities? Any gadgets or tools that help them in their quest?
  • Do they have any friends or foes? Sidekicks or pets?
  • How can this character teach us about precipitation? In what ways will they demonstrate the GPM educational themes of the water cycle, weather and climate, technology, and societal applications.

Judging and Prizes

There will be three age groups to which people can submit their designs:

  • Ages 13-15 (Middle School)
  • Ages 16-18 (Secondary/High School)
  • 19 years and older (above high school)

Children under 13 years of age are not eligible for this contest.

There will be a panel of judges comprised of NASA scientists and outreach personnel who will personally review each submission and vote on the winners. The main judging criteria will be how well the character demonstrates the GPM and precipitation science themes. Entries will also be judged based on their originality and uniqueness and the quality of the artwork and character story.

There will be one grand prize winner who’s character will be used in future GPM educational and outreach materials, and 2 runners up in the three categories who will also receive prizes. The runners up will receive GPM stickers, a pin, poster, lithograph, and droplet handouts. The grand prize winner will also receive these prizes in addition to having their artwork featured in future GPM materials. The winners may also be featured on the GPM website and have the opportunity to engage with GPM scientists.

Submission Instructions

Submissions will be accepted from 2/25/2013 – 4/30/2013

The submission must include 2 to 5 pieces of original artwork showing the character (any media is permitted, i.e. pencil, pen, paint, digital, etc.). The submission must also include up to one page of text describing the character, their attributes, and how the character’s story relates to precipitation and the GPM mission. You must also print and sign a waiver which gives us permission to use your original artwork - download the waiver here. If you are under 18 years of age, the waiver must also be signed by a parent or guardian.

Send an email to with the following information:

  • Email Subject: “GPM Anime Challenge – [your name]”
  • Email Body:
    • First and last name
    • Age and Grade if applicable
    • (optional) Mailing address
    • (optional) Your grade, school name, and school address
  • Email file attachments with your original character design:
    • 2 to 5 pieces of original artwork that show the character. The file size must be less than 4MB total, and files must be in one of the following formats: .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif, .pdf
    • A document with up to one page of text describing the character. The file size must be less that 1MB total and must be in one of the following formats: .doc, .docx, .txt, .rtf, .pdf
  • Signed Waiver: Available for download here. This waiver may be scanned or photographed and included in the submission e-mail as an attachment, or it can be faxed to 301-614-5808. If faxed, please include a cover page with the attention to Dalia Kirschbaum and include your name, e-mail, age and name or description of your anime character.

Other Rules

We will accept submissions from any country, but all text must be in English. You must follow all applicable laws from your home country. Your personal information must complete and accurate. We will only use your personal information for the internal purposes of the contest, and will not share any of your information with third parties unless you are selected as a winner. If selected as a winner, the artist will be expected to assign copyright of their artwork and stories to NASA.

The work you submit must be 100% original, with the exception of official GPM and NASA imagery and logos. You are responsible for ensuring that your submission meets copyright and fair-use laws. Your submission must not include any inappropriate content, and we hold final judgment as to what is considered acceptable and appropriate.

By submitting an entry to this contest you (and parent or guardian of minors) are agreeing to the terms and conditions outlined here and in the waiver document which must be completed and returned with the submission. Breaking any of these terms and conditions will result in immediate disqualification from the contest.