Kicker – Discovering Wolftopia

NICK EICHER, HOST: Three days into an internship with NASA, 17-year-old Wolf Cukier did what many scientists spend a career trying to do.

While interning at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, he was poring over the data from a survey satellite when something caught his eye. 

Cukier told WNBC news…

CUKIER: I noticed a dip or a transit from the TOI 1338 system, and that was the first signal of the planet.

Allow me to translate and, ah, I had help—Cukier found evidence of a previously undiscovered planet.

And with further study, NASA confirmed the teenager did indeed discover a new planet!

This newfound world is 1,300 light years away. It’s seven times the size of Earth, and it orbits two stars. 

Right now, the planet’s official name is TOI 1338 b. The TOI stands for “test object of  interest.”

But surely Wolf Cukier can come up with something catchier, right, young man?!

CUKIER: My brother’s idea was Wolftopia.

BASHAM: Wolftopia, now that I like!

EICHER: NASA has to call it that!

It’s The World and Everything in It.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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