A YOUNG Cork girl’s love of space, and her fears for planet Pluto, have seen her making international news, including in The Washington Post, after she wrote to America’s leading space agency NASA.
Six-year-old Cara Lucy O’Connor, whose father Gearóid O’Rourke is from Newcestown, wrote a letter to NASA last April asking them to make Pluto the ninth planet in our solar system. It was downgraded to a ‘dwarf’ planet in 2006.
Speaking to The Southern Star, Gearóid said both her and Cara Lucy’s mother Karen are very proud of their daughter.
‘She began reading about space in books and then online and it took off from there. The publicity around this, which included being interviewed on RTE Radio 1 last week, has re-generated her interest again in the solar system and I hope she keeps an interest in this for years to come,’ said a delighted Gearóid.
In the letter, written with the help of her Glasheen NS teacher Miss O’Donovan, Cara, who was five years old at the time, said that she hopes to discover her own planet and call it Planet Unicorn, and would like to become an astronaut and work for NASA.
‘Pluto used to be a planet and I think that was fair but it isn’t fair that Pluto isn’t a planet anymore. Now it is a dwarf planet,’ she wrote in the letter. ‘I listened to a few songs about Pluto as well, and in one of the videos people were dressed as different planets, and Pluto was put in the trash can and was scared by planet Earth. This was really mean because no one or no planet or dwarf planets should be put in the trash can.’
Cara Lucy urged everyone at NASA to change their mind and make Pluto a planet again.
In a touching end note, she announced she was playing ‘Goldillocks’ in her summer play and invited Nasa to come and see it.
Months later, Cara Lucy received a reply from both Dr Carly Howett, a senior scientist on NASA’S New Horizon spacecraft and from Dr James L Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division, who both complimented her on her interest in the solar system and offered her wise words of encouragement. They also sent her a NASA bag as well as books and DVDs.