MSR welcomed alumnus Alex Longo back to our Lead Mine Campus virtually last month to share his knowledge and enthusiasm for space exploration with Children’s House VI students who had been studying the solar system during blended learning.
Alex captivated his young audience as he talked about plans to send astronauts to Mars, about the Perseverance Mars rover and landing site, and the James Webb space telescope. He provided students and adults alike with a wealth of information about NASA and space exploration, answered questions, and generally impressed everyone with his excitement about space exploration and his depth of knowledge. “It was inspiring,” says Jane, “for my students to meet a former MSR student who is pursuing his passion in a career as an astronaut or possible scientist for NASA.”
Alex is currently in his third year at UNC-Chapel Hill where he is majoring in geology. Recently he completed an internship at NASA Headquarters where, he says, “I played a small role in planning future crewed missions to Mars.”
Alex’s interest in space exploration and NASA began while he was a student at MSR. His Montessori experience helped to nurture his curiosity and encouraged him to explore his interests more deeply. In 2014, while following NASA missions on the agency’s website, Alex saw an announcement inviting scientists to submit abstracts recommending landing sites for the next Mars rover expedition. Admittedly inspired by a desire for some NASA swag, 14-year-old Alex sent NASA his recommendations and was surprised to receive, not swag, but an invitation to NASA’s first landing site planning meeting. You can learn more about what came next for Alex by clicking here to read his 2016 interview with Joe Palca WUNC Public Radio.