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Thursday, March 21 , 2019, 1:16 am | Fair 51º


Teens Track Asteroid from Westmont During Summer Science Program

Thirty-six of the world’s top high school science students have been tracking the course of an asteroid as part of the 55th annual Summer Science Program at Westmont College.

The students, from 14 states and six countries, attend college-level lectures during the day and then measure the speck of light from the near-Earth asteroid during the evening.

Working in teams of three, students have been taking a series of telescopic images of the asteroid, measuring its precise position and writing software to predict its future position from those measurements.

“They may even predict a collision with Earth thousands or millions of years in the future,” SSP Executive Director Richard Bowdon said. “This intense, hands-on research experience gives students life-changing inspiration and preparation to study science or engineering in college.”

The students work with professors, meet prominent guest speakers and enjoy behind-the-scenes tours of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.

The four-week program moved to Westmont College in 2010 after 51 years in Ojai.

“Everyone here is extremely supportive, and the facilities are perfect for our program, especially the 24-inch Keck telescope,” Bowdon said.

SSP is operated by an independent nonprofit in cooperation with Westmont, Caltech, MIT and New Mexico Tech. For more information, click here or contact Bowdon at 919.439.7759 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.

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