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Planetary scientists believe that asteroids may hold information about the formation of our universe. Doctoral students like Auburn University’s Ryota Nakano will play a critical role when it comes to decoding that information.

Nakano is a graduate student researcher in the Space Technology Application Research, or STAR, Lab, led by assistant aerospace engineering professor Masatoshi Hirabayashi. His research at the STAR Lab focuses on uncovering formation and evolution processes of asteroids and comets in the solar system.

Nakano is one of the latest recipients of a prominent research award from NASA to further his research over the next three years, with the goal of helping to shed light on the evolution of binary asteroids and potentially contributing to planetary defense and NASA’s future spaceflight missions.

Click here to read more about the award.