Nicole Oliveira, only two years old, was barely able to speak, but she already knew enough words to make a rather unusual request: “Mom, I want a star.” The mother, Zelma Jakana, did not understand and gave her the star game.
It took her about three years to realize that Nikulinha, as everyone knows her, wanted a real star, one of the stars that shines in the sky at night and is light years away from Earth. She is also fascinated by Saturn, but says she prefers studying asteroids.
I gave a lecture on asteroid benno Since then, I have studied and taken care of many other asteroids,” says Nicole, who is eight years old now. 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 by the US space agency NASA, through which it found seven of these stars roaming in space with the help of software.
She also has a profile no youtube channel About Astronomy, is a Foundation a Online course About it and the youngest member of CEAAL (Center for Astronomical Studies in Alagoas), an institution that brings together amateur astronomers from all over Brazil.
At the age of five, Nicole first expressed her interest in taking an astronomy course and began searching on the Internet until she found CEAAL. At first, the head of the foundation was informed that she could not participate due to her age – but that did not make her give up.
“She insisted, and when she turned six, she had the opportunity to take the course,” Zelma says. She attended all the classes, took the exam, passed and became the youngest member of the institution.”
This feat drew attention and the girl was invited to give lectures at schools in Maceió, her hometown, and at CEAAL itself. But with the onset of the pandemic, face-to-face activities were suspended and long, boring days were replaced by a hectic routine.
Nikulinha, of course, was upset by the situation, but she did not allow herself to be shaken and “turned grief into opportunity,” as her mother put it. It was at that moment that the idea arose to create the YouTube channel As Observations of Nicolinha and the Nicolinha & Kids Online Club, which, after two months of creation, had already brought together 45 children.
“I started searching on the internet and saw that there was no YouTube channel for kids,” says Nicole. “Whether on the channel or in the club, I talk about everything related to astronomy and bring in 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 the request of Nicolinha, Zilma created an Instagram profile for the club and for the YouTube channel.
Currently, the Instagram profile has 6000 followers and the channel has more than 1000 subscribers. Nicole’s mother and father are responsible for editing the videos, but it is the daughter who prepares all the materials and contacts experts to invite them to participate.
In the midst of the atypical routine of an eight-year-old, Nicole still manages to juggle various projects and school, which, according to Zelma, will always be and always will be the girl’s priority.
Only once has she been excused from class for accomplishing a great achievement: a lecture at the 1st International Symposium on Astronomy and Aeronautics of MCTI (Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation), which took place roughly in June of this year.
Despite her young age, she understands the importance of studies and knows exactly the path to follow when she graduates from high school, many years from now. Interestingly enough, your big dream is not to be an astronaut.
“Space travel must be great, but still, I’d rather stay here (laughs),” says Nikulinha. “I want to become an aerospace engineer and build rockets to take astronauts on important space missions.”
* Trainee in R7 Under the supervision of Pablo Marquez
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