The illustration says "Power to Explore" and shows several spacecraft blueprints on a dark background.

Attention Students:

Semi-finalists have been announced! Read the list of semifinalists here.

The second round of Power to Explore Student Writing Challenge entries are now being read by our team of judges. Stay tuned!

It takes a special kind of power to explore the extremes of our solar system, and NASA wants to hear how it would energize your space exploration dreams! If you could plan a mission in our solar system or beyond, where would you go, and what would you explore?

If you are a K-12 student in the United States, your challenge is to research Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) and dream up a new RPS-powered space mission. RPS is a type of nuclear "battery" that has been used for over 60 years, enabling many spacecraft to explore some of the harshest, darkest environments, and the farthest reaches of our solar system.

Watch the Challenge Intro Video:

Join the Power to Explore Student Writing Challenge


The Power to Explore Student Writing Challenge was open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade in U.S. public, private, and homeschools. Entries (maximum 200 words) were accepted between October 12, 2022 and January 17, 2023. Entries will be judged in three grade-level categories: K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Winners will be announced on April 25, 2023.

Student Resources

Contest deadline: January 17, 2023 (the contest is now closed to new entries)

Prizes: The contest will have 45 semi-finalists, who will win prize packs, 9 finalists, who will win a chance to participate in a videoconference with NASA experts, and 3 winners, who will be awarded a two-day trip for two to NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

NASA RPS Power to Explore Challenge

The challenge is funded by the NASA Science Mission Directorate’s RPS Program Office and managed and administered by Future Engineers under the direction of the NASA Tournament Lab, a part of the Prizes, Challenges, and Crowdsourcing Program in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

This 200-word writing challenge inspires learning about how Radioisotope Power Systems help us explore the extremes of our solar system and to celebrate students' own unique power. Click on the "Enter Challenge" button to see the contest rules and enter the contest.

2022-23 RPS Power to Explore poster
Teachers: You can download and print this flyer to hang it up in your classroom.

Student Resources



3D Models

Missions: RPS-Powered Spacecraft

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