The hunt for Planet X leads scientists to find 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter stirring excitement in the scientific community and at BYU-Hawaii. Students look into the cosmos and contemplate what other mysteries await discovery.
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, astronomers led by scientist Scott Shepard were searching the cosmos for the elusive Planet X but instead came across 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter. The total number of Jupiter’s moons now number 79. According to the official site, University of Hawaii’s Dave Tholen was part of the planet search team.
What can people learn from the discovery of twelve more moons orbiting Jupiter?
Relating to the junior high school children she teaches, Camilla Dickson, an educator and BYUH alumna said, “I think this teaches kids that there is still so much more to discover in space. There is still more to be learned about even the planets we know about. It also is a great way to teach kids that there is always much more to discover and to follow any hunches they may have.”
Excited about the discovery, Sam Clayton, a junior from Colorado majoring in marketing said, “There is always new things to discover. We have been looking at Jupiter for decades now, discovering twelve new moons? And one that goes against retrograde? That's crazy.”
What do you like about space?
Appreciating humanity’s appetite for answers, Emily Thomas, a sophomore from California studying TESOL, said, “I have always been fascinated by NASA and space exploration because it is studying the unknown, traveling to places never traveled before, and ultimately increasing our potential.
“Space science is one of the most humbling tasks out there, simply because we all know that we know nothing compared to what is out there. Yet, we love it and never give up.”
Grateful for those who explored space, Dickson said, “I love space exploration. I’m thankful others have the courage and desire to leave earth and discover the unknown. I’ve been to Cape Canaveral and seeing the space shuttle was so neat.”
Visualizing the potential in unraveling more cosmic riddles, Clayton said, “I love the adventure. I love the mystery. I love the fact that there could be and is so much out there we can't even comprehend. It's vast and lonely, yet adventurous and exciting at the same time. It's just so cool.”
Do you think space is gaining in popularity?
Clayton said, “I think that space has kind of lost the appeal and romanticism it once had, and yet it becomes more accessible everyday. It's becoming less of a fantasy and more of something we wait for while technology catches up.”
“I don't think that space is a topic with a lot of increasing popularity, but I definitely think it should be,” Thomas added. “I think more people are leaning towards either business or the development of technologies.”
Dickson said, “I don’t think it is as big of interest. Due to the lack of funding to the space program in the USA, I don’t think it is talked about much. I certainly didn’t know about the new moons being discovered and I think that is because when kids learn about space they are taught the planets and that’s all.”
What is your favorite planet?
Clayton said, “Probably Earth because we live here and there's so much wonder and systems that turned out just right. Other than that, places like Pluto hold a lot of mystery and I like that. Yet, places like Mars seem like the most practical and effective for us to go right now. “
Going against the tide, Dickson said, “My favorite planet is no longer considered a planet! I love Pluto. Why? Not sure. I just know as a kid that is always the one I would chose to say was my favorite. I think it is interesting that it was the last one and so tiny yet still part of the solar system. It gave me a better idea of how big space really is.”