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NII Explore’s Spring Break Mission to Mars challenge open for registration

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

Teams of five compete for a chance to win $2,500 towards post-secondary education

Asking the question “What will it take to establish the first human settlement on Mars?”, the Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) and Bruce Power are excited to launch a unique new virtual Spring Break program designed for high school students across Bruce, Grey and Huron counties.

Participants will register in teams of five, joining the virtual camp each day from April 12-16. Teams will have a one-hour interactive lesson every morning in which a subject matter expert will explain a problem related to creating a livable habitat on Mars. They will then work with a mentor from North American Young Generation in Nuclear to solve that problem.

Subject matter experts from the Canadian Space Agency and Bruce Power, along with a former NASA researcher, will join to answer any questions student have about the challenge topics. Challenges will be related to survivability and sustainability, resource development and management, and astronaut mental health and wellbeing.

Students will tackle questions like:

  • How can we create a livable habitat in Mars' harsh environment?

  • How will we find resources on Mars?

  • How can we make sure astronauts stay healthy on the journey there and back?

  • How will astronauts grow food on Mars?

Students can win great prizes throughout the week and will compete for the grand prize of $2,500 to the winning team, donated by Bruce Power. Awarded by a panel of judges, the prize will go to the group that successfully solves the most challenges and presents their solutions in the most thorough, creative, and thought-provoking way.

“This is something new to this region,” said Phillip Craig, Director of NII Explore. “And as much as this is a science-based program, teams will need to be well rounded and work together if they want to take home the grand prize. It’ll take some outside-the-box thinking, slick presentation skills, and a lot of hard work for teams to be successful.”

“Bruce Power is proud to work with NII in engaging the community and especially the students of Bruce, Grey and Huron,” said Dwight Irwin, Manager of Community Relations for Bruce Power. “Bruce Power understands the value of education, science, and innovation in our region, and engaging students in programs such as those hosted by the NII will pay dividends in the future.”

To learn more and to register for this experience, check out or contact

NII Explore is a program dedicated to delivering enhanced educational opportunities for school-aged children to learn, experiment, discover and create. NII Explore’s educational programming offers a range of learning styles that connects students to the best teaching and knowledge available.


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