Maryland student’s science project wins national solar system research competition

A North County High School student skyrockets at the top of a national solar system research competition with a out of this world project.

Dominic Alfinito won the Exploration of the Moon and Asteroids by Secondary Students (ExMASS) program with his project titled “Possible Causes of Hydration of Vesta’s Oppia Crater”.

Oppia crater is on the asteroid Vesta and is unique because it has an unusually shaped rim, according to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Dominic’s project focused on two possible explanations for the detection of water near the crater.

High school students from across the country submit projects for ExMASS with guidance from a science advisor. The program is a joint effort between the Lunar and Planetary Institute and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. It is also managed by the Center for Lunar Science and Exploration (CLSE).

“Participating in the ExMASS program is a challenge in any school year, let alone a pandemic,” said Andy Shaner, ExMASS program manager for CLSE. “Despite the additional challenges, and doing it alone, Dominic has produced the high quality student research the program has come to expect.”

Dominic will present his project at NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) annual Exploration Science Forum (ESF) in Boulder, Colorado, July 19-21.

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