At only two years old, Nicole Oliveira of Alagoas could barely speak, but she already knew enough words to make an unusual request: “Mom, I want a star”. Mother, Zilma Jacana, did not understand and presented her with toy stars.
It took her almost three years to realize that Nikolinha, as the girl is known to all, wanted a real star, one of them that shines in the night sky and is light-years away from Earth. The planet Saturn also charms her, but she says that she likes to study asteroids.
“I gave a lecture about asteroid Bennu And since then I’ve studied and been interested in many other asteroids,” says Nicole, now eight. “I love all stars, but I find asteroids particularly fascinating.”
Not coincidentally, since last year, Nicolinha has contributed to asteroid hunting, a citizen science program of the US space agency NASA, through which it found seven such stars moving in space with the help of software.
he also has Canal No YouTube Regarding astronomy, he is a . is the founder of online course on the subject and the youngest member of CEAL (Center for Astronomical Studies of Alagoas), an institution that brings together amateur astronomers from all over Brazil.
At the age of 5, Nicole expressed her first interest in taking a course on astronomy and began searching the Internet until she found CEAAL. At first, the institution’s president explained that, because of her age, she couldn’t participate—but that didn’t give her away.
“She insisted and, when she turned six, she had the opportunity to attend the course”, says Zilma. She attended all classes, took exams, passed and became the youngest member of the organization.”
The feat attracted attention, and the girl was invited to give lectures at the same schools in her hometown of Maceo and CEAL. With the onset of the pandemic, however, face-to-face activities were suspended and hectic routines were replaced by long, boring days.
Nicolinha, of course, was upset by the situation, but she didn’t let herself budge and “turned sadness into an opportunity,” in the words of her mother. It was at that time that the idea came up to create the YouTube channel As Observation of Nicolinha and the online club Nicolinha & Kids, which, after two months of creation, already brings together 45 children.
Nicole says, “I started looking on the internet and saw that there is no YouTube channel for kids.” “Both on the channel and the club, I talk about everything that involves astronomy and bring on professors to participate.”
It all started with a group on WhatsApp with three other friends who are also interested in astronomy. At a certain point, several children began to join the community and, at Nicolinha’s request, Zilma created an Instagram profile for the club and YouTube channel.
Currently, the Instagram profile has 6,000 followers and the channel has over 1,000 subscribers. Nicole’s mother and father are responsible for editing the video, but it is the daughter who creates all the content and invites them to participate by contacting the experts.
In the midst of an unusual routine for an eight-year-old, Nicole still manages to juggle various projects and school, which, according to Zilma, is and will always be the girl’s priority.
Only once, he was exempted from class to achieve a great achievement: lecture at the first International Symposium on Astronomy and Aeronautics of the MCTI (Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation), held virtually in June this year.
Despite being very young, she recognizes the importance of studying and knows what path to take after graduating from high school many years from now. Interestingly, your big dream is not to become an astronaut.
“Travelling in space must be wonderful, but still, I love being here (laughs),” Nicolinha says. “I want to be an aerospace engineer and build rockets to carry astronauts on important space missions.”
*K interns R7 Under the supervision of Pablo Marx