Solar system montage with eight planets

Shreya Venkatesh, age 13


Justification for the name: "Ragnarok is a series of future events in Norse mythology that suggests the destruction and rebirth of the universe. A godly battle takes place, natural disasters occur, and the world is submerged, after which it will emerge renewed with fertile lands. This is an ideal name for asteroid 1999 RQ36 because its orbit is very close to that of the Earth’s and has a very high impact probability, which relates to the natural disasters taking place during Ragnarök. However, this carbonaceous asteroid is also very rich in organic materials, relating to the re-surfacing and replenishing of the world in Ragnarök. Ragnarök is both a destructive and life-giving event and is a suitable name for this asteroid; it may be potentially destructive by impacting the Earth, but it also is an Earth-like remnant from the early Solar System and can help us better understand the origin of life on Earth."

What do you want to see next in space? "Space exploration fascinates me, and I would like to see if Mars has water, and if so, I would like to know if it was inhabited in the past. It would also be amazing if NASA or any other space-exploring organization finds out more about the other galaxies around us, and if there are other biological forms outside or inside of our galaxy. I would like to see if space explorers can find out more about black holes, and what happens inside a black hole as well. Space exploration, in my opinion, should take a second giant leap for mankind!"