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Power Stars, or just simply Stars, are the rewards for completing missions in both games. Mario must collect a certain number of Stars before he can face Bowser. There are also Green Stars and Grand Stars.
Super Mario Galaxy Edit
Super Mario Galaxy 2 Edit
In Super Mario Galaxy 2, Stars are required to power your spaceship, although other than the first Power Star you get, Grand Stars are the only source of power that are actually shown to help the spaceship. There are 242 stars in total (120 of them are Green Stars).