Solar system montage with eight planets

Matthew Bartlett, age 16


Justification for the name: "I believe asteroid 1999 RQ36 should be named Erebus because of what its god counterpart represented to the ancient Greeks. First of all, Erebus is the god of darkness and shadows; this fits in with 1999 RQ36 because it has a low albedo from 0.03 to 0.06. Also, according to Greek mythology, Erebus was a fundamental deity existing during the beginning of the universe. This is analogous to 1999 RQ36 because, as an asteroid, it was a witness to the earliest days of our solar system. That is one of the reasons the OSIRIS-REx mission is going to investigate it and return samples to Earth. Indeed, Erebus is a name that perfectly represents asteroid 1999 RQ36."

What do you want to see next in space? "Space exploration is a large category for someone to consider, so I would like to single out specific types in detail. I would like to see initiatives in manned space exploration, such as the lunar colony proposed by the Constellation Program, or a mission to Mars, like that being planned by MarsOne, which would be great steps for reaching toward the stars. However, in the more abstract definition of space exploration, being around to see groundbreaking discoveries about the universe, like having Kepler find a nearly perfect Earth-analog extrasolar planet, would be a thrilling experience. Overall, I appreciate simply living in a time when previously unthinkable initiatives in space exploration are currently in progress."