Eugene Rivera shows the certificate he received from Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory naming minor planet 34524 after him.
Three minor planets were named after Naga City students Eugene Rivera, Keith Cadores and Kent Manzanero.
NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur—Three students based here could not be any happier after a top American university named minor planets after them.
"Overwhelmed, kasi di ko ini-expect na this soon matatanggap na namin 'yung confirmation na officially named na 'yung minor planet sa amin," Eugene Rivera said.
Last Monday, Rivera received a package from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory with a letter and a certificate confirming Minor Planet 34524, located between Mars and Jupiter, has been named after him.
Rivera and fellow student researchers Kent Manzanero and Keith Cadores of Camarines Sur National High School won second place in the prestigious International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh in May 2018.
Their project, called Solar Tracking Arduino Rooted Kirigami PH Photovoltaic Panels (STARK), is a solar panel design that tracks the sun and is foldable.
"Kasi ang solar panels is very expensive to manufacture and install but they can perform greatly kasi zero carbon emission, especially sa Philippines sun-rich country po tayo," Manzanero said.
"Nakita namin ang potential nu'n but at the same time, since often visited by typhoons tayo and natural calamities, dapat maagapan rin. Parang sunflower, madali siyang nagta-track and nag-close open depende kung may sunlight, rain and other factors."
While Rivera’s fellow researchers are waiting for their packages from the MIT, both are grateful for the recognition.
“Nakaka-proud po and feel honored kasi hindi po everyday may ganu'ng klaseng recognition. Ang saya po sa feeling," Manzanero said.
All three are now second-year electronics and communications engineering students in a public college in Naga.
They decided to study together, because they want to continue the project.
Manzanero said funding is one of his group's concerns but they are still eager to finish it.
" 'Yung funding ang pinaka-challenge sa aming paggawa, kasi may mga materials and components, wala po sa local kaya ino-order namin online then saka pa lang kami makakabuo ng product," he said.
The recognition from MIT means a lot for the trio and their families, because it motivated them to finish the project until it becomes available in the market.
They believe that the project will give every Filipino family an alternative, but manageable source of energy.