Ground report | New Delhi: Meet world’s youngest astronomer; When Nicole, a resident of Brazil, was learning to walk, she used to spread her arms to reach the stars of the sky. Today, at the age of just eight, she is known as the world’s youngest astrophysicist.
Today, as part of a NASA program, she is exploring new asteroids in space, attending international seminars, and meeting prominent people from the fields of space and science in the country. Her room is filled with posters of the Solar System, miniature models of rockets, and effigies of characters from the Star Wars movie.
Meet world’s youngest astronomer
In this room, she works on her computer and studies pictures of the sky on two big screens. The name of the program she is associated with is “Asteroid Hunters”. Its purpose is to introduce children and young people to science and give them the opportunity to explore space themselves.
The project runs under the International Astronomical Search Collaboration Program, a science program affiliated with NASA. Brazil’s Ministry of Science is a partner in this.
With dark brown hair and a high-pitched voice, Nicole proudly states that she’s also discovered 18 petty houses. “I will name them after Brazilian scientists or after my mom and dad,” she said. It may take years to validate the discoveries made by her, but if this happens, she will become the person of all ages in the world to find asteroids.
New asteroids discovered
So far this record is held by 18-year-old Luigi Sannino, a resident of Italy. Nicole studies in a private school in the city of Fortaleza in the northeast of Brazil, thanks to a scholarship. Her astronomy teacher, Heliomargio Rodríguez Moreira, says, “She really recognizes everything. She can quickly spot dots that look like asteroids in pictures and often gives advice to the rest of her class when she has doubts.” That they haven’t found an asteroid.”
Moreira also said, “The most important thing is that she shares her knowledge with other children. She contributes to the spread of science.” Nicole’s family is a resident of Machio, about 1100 km from Fortaleza. Those people started living in Fortaleza earlier this year after getting her scholarship.
Her father is a computer scientist and he was allowed to continue doing her job remotely. Her mother, 43-year-old Jilma Janka, works in the craft industry. She says, “We realized that she is serious about astronomy when she asked for a telescope on her birthday when she was four years old. I didn’t even know at that time what a telescope was.”
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center
Nicole was so eager to get the telescope that she told her parents that she would not ask for any birthday gifts after that. Nevertheless, this gift was very expensive for her family and Nicole could get it only when she was seven years old. Her mother told that all her friends also got money to buy the telescope.
Nicole now wants to become an aerospace engineer. She says, “I want to build rockets. I want to go to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and see the rockets there. I also want all children in Brazil to have access to science.”