Student Contest Announced: Why human exploration of the outer solar system and the stars?

Due to COVID-19 issues, the Limitless Space Institute (LSI) is unable to host student interns during the summer of 2020. As an alternate approach to still be able to engage with students on the topic of bold space exploration, LSI will instead sponsor and conduct a student paper contest with the pinnacle objective of addressing the question of why – why human exploration of the outer solar system and on to the stars? LSI is in the process of addressing the question internally and would like to hear some perspectives from the next generation on this topic. As some excellent examples of video vignettes somewhat related to the question, consider the following two videos titled Wanderers produced by Erik Wernquist and The Frontier is Everywhere produced by Reid Gower. In both videos the creators make excellent use of some eloquent, compelling, and succinct words spoken by Carl Sagan accompanied by beautiful music and stunning visuals. In the end, it is the words that carry the real weight and meaning to the viewer’s heart:


The Frontier is Everywhere:

The contest will have two categories – High school (junior/senior US, 12-13 UK) and University (students of all disciplines). The awards for the two categories are as follows:

High School Awards                    University Awards

First Place $1250                           First Place $2000

Second Place $750                        Second Place $1500

Third Place $500                          Third Place $1000

The structure of the submission is flexible but limited to two pages of prose and/or poetry. A third page of references may be used if needed. The dates for the contest are as follows:

Initiation Date: June 1st, 2020

Submission Deadline Date: June 29th, 2020

e-mail submissions to

Awards Notification Date: July 27th, 2020

Collaborations: In conducting and executing this student paper, the Initiative for Interstellar Studies (I4IS) and the Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop (TVIW) have graciously agreed to work with LSI to administer the contest and review the submissions. LSI greatly appreciates their willingness to collaborate on this topic. LSI and the extended team are looking forward to the creative ideas and concepts given form by the next generation as a result of conducting this effort. Best of luck, persistence is not futile, and Godspeed!

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