Local teen tracks near-earth asteroid

SOCORRO, NEW MEXICO – Over 39 intense days this summer, Jonah Rolfness of Cave Creek, a student at Paradise Valley High School, operated a researchgrade telescope to take images of a near-earth asteroid, then calculated its orbital path, including the chance it will impact Earth in the future.

Rolfness participated in the Summer Science Program (SSP), joining 35 other top science students from around the world at New Mexico Institute of Technology for academic challenge, collaboration, and personal growth. Since 1959, this unique and highly selective program has offered teenagers their first taste of hands-on, collaborative experimental research. Years and even decades later, alumni describe it as “the educational experience of a lifetime”. Most go on to earn advanced degrees and leadership roles in their chosen careers.

Rolfness and his colleagues worked closely with university professors, met prominent guest speakers, and took behind-the-scenes tours of local scientific and cultural sites.

SSP is operated by an independent non-profit, in cooperation with host campuses New Mexico Tech, University of Colorado Boulder, Purdue University, and University of California San Diego, and affiliates Caltech, MIT, and Harvey Mudd College. For complete information visit www.summerscience.org.