Nicholas Hobbs, age 15
Louisiana, United States
Proposed name: Nabu
Justification for the name: "In Mesopotamian mythology, Nabu is the god of wisdom and was one of the most important gods to the Assyrians. To me it seems fitting to name this asteroid after such an important god of wisdom, as this asteroid will further our understanding of how the solar system formed and, quite possibly, how life originated on Earth. 1999 RQ36 is going to expand our knowledge and understanding of how the universe works, so shouldn’t its name reflect the impact it will have on humanity? The deity Nabu was important to the Assyrians, so I think the asteroid Nabu should be important to us."
What do you want to see next in space? "The first thing I think we should do to improve space exploration in the future is improve funding to NASA programs. That would allow for not only and increase in the quantity of missions, but also an increase in quality. In addition to a manned mission to Mars, which would generate interest in astronomy on a scale comparable to the Apollo missions, we need to invest in more unmanned missions. Particularly, sending a probe to Europa to explore its subsurface oceans or to Io to study its active, volcanic surface would be very revealing."