Grade K-12 students who wrote essays for the RPS Power to Explore Student Writing Challenge.

A few students who wrote winning essays for the RPS Power to Explore Student Writing Challenge. Credit: Future Engineers

2021-2022 Power to Explore Contest Winners

EDITOR'S NOTE: The 2021-22 Power to Explore Challenge was open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade in U.S. public, private, and homeschools. Entries were accepted between Feb. 15 and April 13, 2022. Winners were announced on May 24, 2022. Visit the Future Engineers website to read the winning entries:

When you see a beautiful image of Pluto, do you ever stop to think about how long it takes to get there and what kind of energy would power a spacecraft to take those pictures? It takes a special kind of power to gather data at the extremes of our solar system, and now, as we celebrate 60 years of nuclear power for space flight, NASA wants to hear about what energizes YOU!

Grades: K to 4

Winner City/State Essay
Aaron DeSouza Chino Hills, CA Read Essay
Arjun Alahari Ontario, CA › Read Essay
Evan Rios Bodfish, CA › Read Essay
Luc Basset Los Angeles, CA › Read Essay
Nikhil Bhavsar San Jose, CA › Read Essay
Rosie Rothenberg Sherman Oaks, CA › Read Essay
Caleb Braswell Bonaire, GA › Read Essay
Jackson Sayles Byron, GA › Read Essay
Jayla Anderson Warner Robins, GA › Read Essay
Subham Maiti Bloomington, MN › Read Essay
Lev Margolis Orangeburg, NY › Read Essay
Mia Teusan Hudson, OH › Read Essay
Ari Luster York, PA › Read Essay
Liam Gustavson Farmington, UT › Read Essay
Zahra Abbas Morgantown, WV › Read Essay
Word Art
These are the words that appeared most frequently in the students’ entries about what powers them.

Grades: 5 to 8

Winner City/State Essay
Adyant Bhavsar San Jose, CA › Read Essay
Dane Reed San Diego, CA › Read Essay
Hasini Sundarraman Newark, DE › Read Essay
Orelvis Sosa Miami, FL › Read Essay
Maddy Kim Belmont, MA › Read Essay
Heidi Jacobs Haddonfield, NJ › Read Essay
Alexia Matskevich Brooklyn, NY › Read Essay
Emily Grace Pariti Garden City, NY › Read Essay
Sarah Phinney Garden City, NY › Read Essay
Avni Dhargalkar Chester, PA › Read Essay
Ayush Panda Yardley, PA › Read Essay
Bryan Milstead Harrisburg, VA › Read Essay
Aadya Karthik Redmond, WA › Read Essay
Chloe Steinart Stanwood, WA › Read Essay
Tovia Chan Kirkland, WA › Read Essay

Grades: 9-12

Winner City/State Essay

Nathan Amador
Mesa, AZ › Read Essay
Evangeline De Leon Running Springs, CA › Read Essay
Linh (Kelly) Ninh Westminster, CA › Read Essay
Jake Segal New York, NY › Read Essay
Samantha Smith Canton, GA › Read Essay
Caleb Andrew Pereda Dededo, GU (Guam) › Read Essay
Andrew Visconti Freehold, NJ › Read Essay
Lili Westerhuis Venice, FL › Read Essay
Zhixin Li Millbrook, NY › Read Essay
Elizabeth Czajkowski Ivyland, PA › Read Essay
Lindsay McBride Haverford, PA › Read Essay
Jean Galliano Vega Diaz Carolina, PR (Puerto Rico) › Read Essay
Annie Hu Collierville, TN › Read Essay
Jenn Yin Tay Mclean, VA › Read Essay
Nicole Deng Fairfax, VA › Read Essay

NASA has partnered with Future Engineers to host a writing challenge for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. This contest gives students an opportunity to learn more about Radioisotope Power Systems that provides the power to explore at the extremes of our solar system and to celebrate their own unique power.

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