NASA Names 8-Year-Old Brazilian Girl Who Discovered New Asteroids The World's Youngest Official Astronomer

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NASA Names 8-Year-Old Brazilian Girl Who Discovered New Asteroids The World's Youngest Official Astronomer

A NASA-affiliated astronomy program has named an 8-year-old girl from Brazil as officially the world's youngest astronomer.


Nicole Oliveira now takes part in astronomy seminars and surveys the night sky with the help of her parents and her astronomy teacher, reporting any new findings back to NASA. So far, she has discovered 18 previously unknown asteroids. This makes her 10 years younger than the youngest person to have previously been registered as finding a new asteroid.


The program that Nicole is part of is the International Astronomical Search Collaboration which works with both the Brazilian Ministry of Science and NASA to better engage people with astronomy.


Speaking of her asteroid findings, Nicole said:


"I will give them the names of Brazilian scientists, or members of my family, like my mom or my dad."


Nicole's astronomy teacher Heliomarzio Rodrigues Moreira said of the young girl:


"She really has an eye. She immediately spots points in the images that look like asteroids and often advises her classmates when they are not sure they have really found any."


Her mother, Zilma Janaca, said that Nicole has long been fascinated by space and that her room is adorned with space posters and Star Wars figurines. She said that Nicole had wanted a telescope when she was 7 and that her father and her had saved up to make the purchase. As soon as she received the telescope, she went to work exploring the night sky.


She told reporters:


"When she was two, she would raise her arms to the sky and ask me, 'Mom, give me a star'. We understood that this passion for astronomy was serious when she asked us for a telescope as a birthday present when she turned four. I didn't even really know what a telescope was."


Nicole also then enrolled in an astronomy course and now even has a YouTube channel in which she documents her work and encourages other children to become involved in astronomy.


She says of her future:


"I want to build rockets. I would love to go to the Kennedy Space Center at NASA in Florida to see their rockets. I would also like all children in Brazil to have access to science."


[h/t: science alert]


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Thinking Humanity: NASA Names 8-Year-Old Brazilian Girl Who Discovered New Asteroids The World's Youngest Official Astronomer
NASA Names 8-Year-Old Brazilian Girl Who Discovered New Asteroids The World's Youngest Official Astronomer
A NASA affiliated astronomy program has named an 8-year-old girl from Brazil as officially the world's youngest astronomer. Nicole Oliveira now takes
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