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Michael Darok, age 15

Michael Darok

Michael Darok, age 15

Pennsylvania, United States

Proposed name: Aethon

Justification for the name: "Aethon, according to the Greek poet Ovid, was one of the four horses that pulled Helios’s chariot. This name is quite fitting for this near-Earth object, which takes only 436 days to complete a full revolution around the sun. Mythology speaks of a lush pasture known as the Island of the Blessed, where all of Helios’s horses would rest. Seeing as (101955) 1999 RQ36 is carbon-rich, with the potential secrets of our solar system’s formation locked underneath its dusty surface, this can be considered to be a modern-day Island of the Blessed, wherein the effort of many scientists would lead to our nourished knowledge of our own solar system. In addition, seeing as Aethon drove Helios’s chariot into Earth, one final connection can be made. This asteroid is considered to be the most threatening to life here on Earth, with a 1 in 1800 chance of striking Earth during the twenty-second century."

What do you want to see next in space? To be honest, I don't know what to expect in the future of Space Exploration. It's such a vast, immeasurable thing to, well, measure! After recently finishing Neil DeGrasse Tyson's book "The Pluto Files," I'm pretty excited to see the outcome of the New Horizons mission destined for Pluto in mid-2015. Beyond that, though, who knows what opportunities for discovery we will be given!

astronaut on Phobos
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