Alex Longo is going to help NASA to find the perfect Mars landing spot. The teen has been a fan of NASA’s missions ever since he was five years old. He also kept close contact with NASA.
Now, he is going to pick the best landing spot for the 2020 manned mission to planet Mars. Despite the delay, the space agency wants to build up a hype about the event. Instead of receiving a suggestion from one of their scientists, NASA officials have decided to ask Alex Longo.
His love affair with the agency started when he was only five. NASA has fueled his passion with posters and patches. Longo decided to try his luck one more time. He was going to have a small say in how the mission would play off and perhaps receive more cool souvenirs.
In 2014, he saw the advertising for the space agency’s mission to Mars. The agency was organizing a competition of essays on Mars. Longo felt inspired and sent his work to NASA. He was then invited to a meeting about the first landing site.
At first, he couldn’t believe it. Longo was really happy to participate in the hotel meeting. It was held close to NASA’s Washington headquarters. Longo felt somewhat intimidated by a room full of Ph.D. and grad students who watched his speech. But after he finished, everyone acknowledged him with applause. He was the last to deliver a speech on the Mars landing.
Longo went to a space shuttle launch in 2005. Over time, he became passionate about space exploration and his passion paid off many times.
Alex Longo thought of the same landing site NASA’s rover Spirit has used in 2004. The place is called the Gusev Crater. He based his choice on the fact that Spirit had found interesting formations in that area so it was worth a second look.
Longo has been assigned a team of scientists who are also for choosing the Gusev Crater as a landing site. Their choice is among eight other semi-finalists shortlisted by the space agency. Next year, four teams which make it to the final will be announced.
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