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Image by Jake Weirick


Astrophysics, University of Colorado, Boulder Campus, 2022

     The Summer Science Program (SSP), founded in 1959, is a research-based program for high school students talented in STEM. The immersive, college-level program pushes students to overcome their limits through collaboration and perseverance. As we taught and learned from one another, tremendous friendships were formed.

     My teammates and I studied the orbit of near-Earth asteroid 1994 PC1. We then used our observations to code a 400+ line Python program that utilized the Method of Gauss to determine the orbital elements of this asteroid. We wrote an orbital determination report detailing our results. Working with the Southwest Research Institute, we modeled the stability of our calculated orbit. Turns out there's a ten percent chance of 1994 PC1 hitting the Earth over the next 50 million years!

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