Teenager Could Select Landing Site for NASA Mars Rover

NASA will launch its next Mars rover project by year 2020 and Alex Longo, of Raleigh, N.C., could be the one to select the landing site for Mars rover. The suggestion offered by teenager from Raleigh ranks among the leading suggestions for landing site for Mars rover. Longo said that he has been closely watching space exploration and he watched the first space shuttle launch at age of five.

Longo said that he has been keeping a close eye on all things happening in space exploration. He dreams to be the first person to land on Mars one day. Longo came across an announcement regarding Mars rover project in 2014 on NASA website.

Alex Longo informed his mother Laura Longo about his message to NASA. After his mother saw his letter to NASA, she was impressed. Alex has chosen Gusev Crater as the landing place suggestion for next NASA Mars rover.

“He said, ‘Hey, Mom, can I send this in to NASA?” Laura Longo remembers. “And I said, ‘Well, let’s take a look at it.’ And I sat down, and it’s this multi-page scientific document. And I said ‘Oh honey, that’s really cool,’ thinking he’s going to get some more swag — that’s going to be great.”

In October 2015, Alex Longo was invited to make a pitch at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas. He attended the first meeting of experts for landing site selection.

Talking about his presentation to the team of experts, Longo said, “Honestly, I was a bit scared. Because there are 125 Ph.D.s and grad students in that room, and I probably am by far the least experienced or knowledgeable person there. And I’m giving a presentation to all these people.”

Alex Longo is 14 years old now and his interest in space exploration has only gone higher with time. Longo has partnered with experienced astronomers regarding his suggestions for NASA rover landing. Their proposal has made it to the semi-finals.

After a meeting next year, four proposals will be selected by NASA for landing site.

from Department of Space Colonization