13-Year-Old Sarawakian Is One Of NASA's Winners For An International Design Challenge

Nearly 10,000 design entries were submitted from students around the world.

Cover image via New Sarawak Tribune & Nasa

Teng Wei Rui, a Form One student from Miri, Sarawak, has been selected by NASA as one of the five winners in the Mission Patch Design Challenge 2019

"NASA is going to the moon in 2024, and then on to Mars in a sustainable way. To achieve our mission, we need the next generation of STEM students to join us," NASA's associate administrator for the Office of STEM Engagement Mike Kincaid said in a statement.

Image via Nasa

According to NASA's website, designing a mission patch is one of the first things an astronaut crew does when embarking on a new mission.

As such, students were challenged to put themselves in an astronaut's space boots and use Tynker to code patches for their imaginary spacesuits.

Image via Tynker

The nearly 10,000 design entries submitted from students around the world were judged by NASA experts based on originality, execution, and effective use of code

"It was difficult to select our five winners. We are thrilled with the results and hope that this first challenge has inspired a new generation of kids to learn more about space missions, NASA, and the impact that makers have on space exploration," Tynker vice president of Educator Programmes Kaustav Mitra said.

Aside from the teenager from Malaysia, the winners are Ishhaq Ziyam (sixth grade) from Sri Lanka, Neal Apte (third grade) from California, Madison Morgan (eighth grade) from Idaho, and Paxton Summers (third grade) from Maryland.

"I'm very proud to have brought honour to my country, state, and school," Wei Rui said

The 13-year-old who goes to Pei Min Secondary School has been going for coding lessons as he wants to be an astronaut when he grows up.

Teo Yuang Teck, his coding teacher and owner of Real Fun Learning Centre, said the teenager's success was a dream come true for him.

"He took about two days to design this patch, and even hugged his laptop when he went to bed!" Teo Yuang Teck told The Star.

Wei Rui's design submission (middle).

Image via Nasa

"I hope more children will follow his footsteps and learn how to create apps themselves and put their name on the world map," he added during the interview.

The Design A Mission Patch project is the first of three planned 'Moon2Mars' coding challenges being released this year by NASA and Tynker

The first challenge was launched on 29 April.

The next challenges will be released in September and October.

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