NASA considers teenager’s proposal of landing site for its next Mars rover mission

NASA considers teenager’s proposal of landing site for its next Mars rover mission

NASA has already starting making preparations for its Mars rover mission whose launch has been scheduled for 2020 launch. One of the things in the preparation list is choosing a landing site. Suggestion for the landing site has not been given by any expert panel or prominent astronomers, but by a teenager.

Alex Longo, of Raleigh, shared that he has been a big admirer of space exploration since his childhood. In fact, his maiden experience with space exploration was in 2005 when he was just 5 years old and watched a space shuttle launch with his parents.

It was just the start and since then, he has been following NASA missions on the agency’s official website. In 2014, he came to know about NASA’s announcement about the next rover mission to Mars. Longo shared that NASA was looking for abstracts from scientists to suggest landing sites for the mission.

He then decided to prepare a proposal and send to NASA. It was not the first time when he was doing that. He mentioned about NASA, “Each time, they sent me cool space shuttle mission posters or patches. I'll have my very small say in this and maybe they'll send me some cool stuff”.

In the proposal, Longo has suggested to make the landing in the space place where NASA’s rover Spirit has in 2004, a place known as Gusev Crater. NASA found the proposal interesting and sent him an email inviting him to attend the first landing site planning meeting.

Initially, Longo did not believe it but then realized it was reality. Longo was scheduled to speak in the last session of the conference. In the meeting, there were 125 PhDs and graduate students but after he completed his speech, there were just applauds.

Alex Longo has been teamed up with more experience Mars scientists who also are in favor of Gusev Crater. The proposal is one of eight semi-finalists. The number would be reduced to four with next year’s meeting.


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