Power to Explore Student Essay Contest 2024

The annual NASA writing challenge invites K-12th grade students in the United States to learn about Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS), a type of nuclear “battery” integral to many of NASA’s far-reaching space missions, and then dream up a totally new RPS-powered mission for the agency. Entries are judged in three grade-level categories: K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Student entries are limited to 250 words and should address the mission destination, mission goals, and also describe one of the student’s unique powers that will help the mission. Visit rps.nasa.gov/STEM/power-to-explore/ to sign up and learn more. Transcript Behold the Sun. The most abundant source of energy on Earth. But what if something blocked that source, like the Moon during a solar eclipse? And what if you wanted to go somewhere that's always dark? Like a crater on the Moon. Or a dusty planet like Mars. Or what if you wanted to explore deep space, really, really, really far from the Sun? Radioisotope Power Systems help NASA do exactly that. RPS can power a spacecraft for decades with no sunlight. They're like a nuclear battery, using heat to generate electricity. It’s how NASA has left the solar system. Photographed the dark side of Pluto. And soon, how we'll look for life on Saturn’s moon, Titan. But there's plenty left to discover. And we invite K-12 students to step up to our latest NASA challenge. Your challenge is to dream up a new RPS-powered space mission to a dark, dusty, or far away place. Tell NASA what you'd explore and how you'd use your unique powers to achieve your goal. You are the next generation of space explorers. It's your job to envision where RPS takes us next. Credit NASA