How would you feel if a planet in the Milky Way galaxy were to be named after you? Well, if the feat seems impossible to achieve read this. A 16-year-old girl from Bengaluru, Karnataka has been selected to join the elite group of individuals who will have the distinct honour of getting a planet named after them.

Sahithi Pingali is a class 12 student of Bengaluru’s Inventure Academy who won an award for developing a crowds-sourced method to monitor the pollution levels in the water bodies in the city. She presented her paper titled “An innovative Crowdsourcing Approach to Monitoring Freshwater Bodies” at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), where she won the second prize beating nearly 2,000 finalists, along with three other special awards in the Earth and Environmental Sciences category in Los Angeles.

Sahithi’s mobile-based app kit uses a collection of electronic sensors and test strips to help users collect physical samples from the water bodies in Bengaluru to test the level of contamination in water. A simple colour recognition and mapping software helps to determine the colour of the test strips to indicate the level of water contamination before uploading it onto a cloud platform.

Apart from this, Sahithi has won several awards and accolades. She was one of the three winners who represented India at the International Sustainable World Energy, Engineering, Environment, Project (I-SWEEEP) that was held in Houston, Texas in May this year.

Sahithi’s name was selected through the Ceres Connection programme, which is run by the MIT Lincoln Laboratory and Society for Science and the Public.