The Mayan scientist will work on NASA’s Dragonfly project
Mexico City (Ubud). Despite the discrimination he suffered due to his Mayan ancestry, 26-year-old Mexican scientist Guillermo Chen Canchi, from Bethania, Campeche, was selected to participate in NASA’s Dragonfly project. The goal of this plan is to investigate one of Saturn’s moons, Titan, in 2023.
Chen Kanchi is a mechatronics engineer who studied for a master’s degree in space technology sciences at the Autonomous University of Campeche. His master’s thesis is on a satellite called Enceladus.
He now resides in Ensenada, Baja California, where he teaches physical oceanography at the Center for Scientific Research and Graduate Studies. Six years ago, he left Campeche to study planetary science and astrobiology. He hopes to graduate in the next three years.
“I said: One day in the future I would like to work on a NASA project,” Telemundo said.
He narrated that researcher Scott Rafkin invited him to participate in the NASA project that studies Titan, the largest moon of Saturn and the second in the solar system, after Ganymede, discovered by Dutch astronomer Christian Huygens in 1655.
He explained that his line of research in planetary sciences and astrobiology allowed him to collaborate on the Dragonfly project. His job at NASA, he said, would be to study the atmosphere of Saturn’s Earth-like satellite Titan “to predict meteorological phenomena on the planet and determine how they affect the generation of organic molecules and how much turbulence there is so that the planet can fly.” Dragonfly.
He added: “Studying Titan can help us answer one of humanity’s biggest questions, which is how did life originate on Earth?”
To check whether Titan harbored life in the past, he said, the six helicopters will reach the satellite’s surface and drill into the ground to analyze samples of methane and ethane from the oceans to confirm or rule out the presence of microorganisms.
“Participation in this project means a lot, it is the culmination of effort and work, but the most important thing is that it reflects the knowledge that I inherited from my ancestors of the Mayan people who were wise astronomers,” he told EFE.
Only Mexican Chen Canchi, along with 117 scientists, will be on the project’s planetary meteorology team, and he said he’s always been proud of the Mayan roots, because they “were the best astronomers out there in the ancient world.”
The young man thanked all the people who helped him in difficult times, such as friends, classmates and teachers who contributed something to get to where he is at this time in his life.
“In the NASA project, I will give 100 percent of my heart to raise the name Campeche, Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula, where the Mayans live, the best astronomers, mathematicians and architects in the world,” said the young man. To implement this project, he will soon travel to the United States.
The dragonfly is a type of helicopter that will fly over Saturn’s largest satellite in search of life and collect data. It is very similar to Project Ingenuity on Mars.
“Sometimes before you can fly… you have to fly. The #DragonflyMission is scheduled to launch to Saturn’s moon Titan in 2027, but the JHUAPL team is already conducting test flights in preparation for operating the actual Dragonfly helicopter on Titan.”
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