Aaron Kwak over the moon with essay feat

02 Jun 2021

Year 9 student Aaron Kwak plans to travel to a moon named Ariel – at least on paper – and along the way will also receive recognition for writing one of the most outstanding essays in the local NASA Scientist for a Day competition.

Run locally by the New Zealand Space Agency, the NASA essay competition is held worldwide, with students invited to discover the solar system.

This year, Aaron has captured the excitement of robotic space travel in his finalist essay, explaining why he wants to explore one of the moons of Uranus.

“I have always had an interest in space exploration since a young age – it’s fascinating,” Aaron, 13, says. “I heard about the essay competition through College and thought it would be interesting to enter. Ariel sounds like an amazing place to explore and discover new life.”

The Rolleston student says while it took a while to plan his essay for the Years 9–10 competition section, “the words soon flowed”.

Aaron says he loves science and plans to have a career in chemistry and biology.

“I am most interested in de-extinction (resurrecting species). It would be amazing to bring back a moa, laughing owl or giant Haast’s eagle – all have been lost to New Zealand. Such species are so integral to our ecosystem.”

He points out that “by losing these species, others suffer”.