Solar system montage with eight planets

Nick Rosas, age 13


Justification for the name: "Asteroid 1999 RQ36 should be named after the ancient Egyptian god of creation, Khepri. The mission planners of the OSIRIS-Rex sample return mission targeted 1999 RQ63 because it is a carbonaceous asteroid, and may contain chemicals that are essential to life on Earth. In Egyptian mythology, Khepri was the original aspect of Ra, the Sun God, who created himself from sheer willpower and gave birth to life on Earth. I believe this name perfectly embodies one of the goals of OSIRIS-Rex: to find out the origin of life on Earth in the chaos of the early solar system. Due to its uncomfortably close orbit to Earth, 1999 RQ36 is potentially a grave threat to mankind, and that Khepri, if he had the power to create life, must have also had the power to destroy it. 1999 RQ36 contains the potential to both seed life and end it, making Khepri a perfect choice for its name."

What do you want to see next in space? "What I would most like to see in space exploration is the development of NASA's Space Launch System rocket and the Orion spacecraft. I'm excited to see manned exploration of space beyond Earth orbit for the first time in forty years!"