Raleigh seventh-graders mapping asteroids, saving the world
Posted March 20, 2014
Updated March 21, 2014
At Dillard Drive Middle School in Raleigh, four students and a teacher are doing work that's out of this world.
Using data from NASA, the group scans photos and charts to verify the movement of asteroids. And they’re checking to make sure none of the celestial rocks is headed toward Earth.
“This is something that’s big and important,” seventh-grader Emily Hiller said. “We’re locating asteroids. As far as we know, we could be saving the world.”
Added classmate Steven Powell: “It makes me feel great because I’m working for NASA in a way, and that’s just awesome.”
The team works is part of the International Astronomical Search Collaboration, an educational outreach program for schools and colleges. Using a program called Astrometrica, the team has been able to confirm four asteroids.
They students been invited to present their research at a convention next week at NASA National Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
“I’m going to thank them and let them know how hard we worked,” said student Ryan Mitchell-Bagley, who rounds out the team along with classmate Yamir Johnson.
Science teacher Catherine Rohrbaugh hopes the lesson is as limitless as space itself.
“It does not matter your age, your gender, anything about you. When you work hard and you’re dedicated, you get recognized,” she said.