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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 19 October, 2018

Two Irish students are spending their summer with Nasa

They’re off on an exclusive research programme.

Image: p_a_h via Flickr/Creative Commons

THERE’LL BE A tricolour raised on the moon before you know it.

Two Irish students have been picked to spend their summer holidays working on research projects with Nasa.

Lauren McKeown, a PhD student at Trinity College Dublin, and Conor O’Toole, a Masters student at University College Dublin, have been selected for an internship programme at the agency’s research centre in Silicon Valley, California.

The placement is the result of a partnership between Nasa and the Irish Research Council.

The pair will spent 10 weeks working alongside other interns on new projects.

Both have a keen interest in space. O’Toole, who is studying Space Science and Technology, is planning a PhD in space-based gravitational wave astronomy (as you do).

McKeown is currently working with her college’s Earth and Planetary Surface Processes Research Group. She has had a lifelong interest in joining Nasa in the area of planetary science.

She’s hoping to help lay the groundwork for more Irish scientists to follow in her footsteps.

McKeown hopes to “eventually be in a position to help provide a platform for future Irish physics students to follow their interests in planetary science”.

There has been a push in recent years for more Irish students to study science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

One survey found roughly half of students considered them to be either too difficult to would require too much work.

Researchers suggested that stereotypes could still be holding students back.

Read: It has been 45 years since Apollo 13 had a problem >

More: This astronaut’s amazing NASA portrait just needs to be seen >

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Nicky Ryan

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