The research work of Miguel Rojas, a 13-year-old Venezuelan boy, has been credited with a program supported by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to discover an asteroid orbiting in the solar system, between the planets Mars and Jupiter.
This young man with a passion for astronomy, born in the state of Lara, western Venezuela, made the discovery in April of this year and his discovery was a favour A few days ago by Pan Stars Observatory From the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii and Hardin Simmons University, by the International Astronomical Research Collaboration (IASC) accompanying NASA.
“With great affection, I share the acknowledgment given to me by NASA, and my initial discovery is now tentative, i.e. NASA has already confirmed that I’ve discovered an asteroid. Miguel explained in a post on social networks that his temporary name is 2021GG40.
RT spoke with Miguel—with his parents’ permission—to find out more about what he’s excited about, the details of the discovery and how the process led him to gain recognition from NASA and academic institutions.
“All my life I have loved astronomy”
Miguel is a kind and polite boy, he has great confidence in his thoughts and words, especially when he talks about him What he loves most: Astronomy. “I’ve loved him all my life, from a very young age, since I had the knowledge, I knew I wanted to dedicate myself to this,” he says.
“I also have to say that When I was 13 I liked movies too, like Star Wars heroes, superheroes and action heroes,” adds Miguel, who also loves to read and is passionate about investigation, exploration and gaining new knowledge.
The first books that interested him were space encyclopedias and the solar system. “When I read it, my interest in learning more and delving into the wonderful world of science and astrophysics increases,” he explains.
Miguel’s path to asteroid discovery began through the program Orbit CI 130, which is dedicated to early identification, diagnosis, tutoring and comprehensive specialized assistance for children and Young people with high potential, high performance and talent.
It was this organization that invited Miguel to actively participate as an explorer in the IASC asteroid search campaign that is taking place around the world.
How was the discovery of Miguel?
“Thank you for being a part of that organization
I participated in the asteroid search campaign and From there, I discovered itMiguel explains, who notes that discovery requires a lot of patience, focus, and fulfillment of requirements.
“It’s a whole process, you first have to sign up for the asteroid search campaign, which is organized by a company IASC. Later, One should look for the pictures taken by the Pan-Starrs telescope from the University of Hawaii.
He adds that the images “are taken from a place in the solar system, between Mars and Jupiter, which has many asteroids, and it is my duty as a member of that expedition to download, analyze and All I see I have to put in a written report Which he sent to the IASC coordination. Then a professional astronomer compares my written report with a database and there they determine whether or not there is a possible new asteroid.”
Miguel’s report has already gone through two phasesThe first was when the first astronomer classified his report as a “preliminary discovery”. The second occurred when experts from various observatories analyzed the report again and verified that it was indeed a new contribution.
“Several observatories are studying that part of the sky to see if they agree that it is indeed a new asteroid. When everyone agrees, it becomes a ‘temporary find’ That’s when NASA certifies, recognizes and identifies them,” the young researcher details.
The process between initial and provisional discovery takes several months, so even though Miguel discovered the asteroid in April, he didn’t get the certification until December. “Now they must follow the orbit of the asteroid to know its properties, which is a process that takes years, and then you can put the name on it and I can put it on myself,” he says excitedly.
I like Elon Musk
“What I like the most is the research,” insists Miguel when asked what interests him most, besides astronomy. However, he says that as he got older, his parents and teachers in his school instilled that At your age it is important to include exercise for their growth and development.
“That’s why I started doing tennis and boxing, and I also love music, I play all fours [el característico instrumento musical venezolano] s My favorite music is from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’sSays the teen who admits that he also loves to learn new languages, such as English and French, which he has been studying for several years.
The young man is also interested in astrophysics, cosmology, planetary sciences and above all, Aeronautical engineering, a profession you want to study To become a professional and work with NASA.
Another of his goals Meet and chat with the CEO of Space X and TeslaAnd Elon Musk. “He’s an inspiration, a role model for me. He’s now one of the most influential people in the world, and he’s making great technological and spatial advancements. I’d love to meet and talk to him.”
Why is space exploration important?
For Miguel, aerospace research and exploration are what most can help humanity, both in technological advancement and in its preservation as a species in the future.
“People who say that space travel does not contribute much are wrong, because they The technology that helps us in everyday life comes from there and sometimes we don’t even realize it. It’s in cell phone technology, the Internet, communications, satellite signals, cameras, laptops, everything.”
In this context, he says:Space exploration will continue to help us continue the development of humanity, to discover new regions, technologies, new planets and galaxies. Until daily trips to the Moon and Mars and travel between planets are commonplace and there is a base in space where we can live.”
“I would like to take a vacation in space, that we can get to Mars and live on a base created by astronomers and from there we can travel to other planets, which although it sounds like science fiction stuff, we’re very close to achieving it.”
“I want to leave a mark on the world”
This Venezuelan, at a young age, continues to work to make new discoveries and realize his dreams, with the unconditional support of his parents. “I want to leave a mark on the world through astronomy, which is the future, and I thank my parents so much because without their support I wouldn’t be where I am now. They have supported me from a very young age in this matter, which is not a common interest, and they have done everything they can to give me the best tools and lead me to my dreams.”
Miguel adds that children with unusual interests should keep their dreams alive and work towards them, no matter what others say to them.
“I tell them to keep believing in the practice of science, They are not afraid to be interested in something that is not popular with young people From our time they should continue to study, read, research and listen to lectures.”
To do science you don’t need a big telescope or a big labWhat is required to make a significant scientific discovery is to be persistent, persistent and dedicated, adds Miguel, who asserts.
In Venezuela, in addition to the discovery of Miguel, IASC He also acknowledged the findings of Venezuelan researchers Jose Angel Moura-Robles, Antares Jose Mora Sanchez and Isaac Buitriago, from the Caron Astronomical Center in Tachira state, who were able to locate a distant star located in the Milky Way, which is believed to be so. A dwarf star experiences a massive flicker.
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