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NASA Salutes Third Grader at Rosa Parks

NASA Salutes Third Grader at Rosa Parks

A third grader at Rosa Parks Elementary, Rainie Lin, is a national winner in NASA’s Power to Explore Student Challenge. This annual writing contest, which teaches youngsters how radioisotopes help boost space exploration, drew nearly 1,800 entries across 48 states and Puerto Rico. Rainie won the K-4 division and received an invitation to tour NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The middle and high school winners are from Washington and New Jersey, respectively.

For the competition, Rainie learned about NASA’s Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) -- described as a nuclear battery integral to far-reaching space missions -- and wrote a 250-word essay about a mission of her own. Rainie’s entry, “Mission Gentoo,” describes a journey to Enceladus, a moon orbiting Saturn. Enceladus’ surface temperature is extremely cold because it reflects most sunlight, so the mission plans call for a lander spacecraft and mini-subs to study the moon’s surface features, composition, and subsurface ocean while searching for signs of life.

“Researching Enceladus may help us back on Earth by extending our knowledge of Antarctica and the penguin’s habitat, hence the name Gentoo,” Rainie wrote. “This knowledge could help us combat climate change and the disintegration of ice shelves, protecting the penguin’s habitat.”

third grader Rainie Lin in a hat and sleeveless shirt standing by an aquarium with swimming penguin

Rosa Parks Elementary's Rainie Lin

(Photo courtesy of Danielle Donchetz)