Theodore Hale is a typical teenager, who has performed non-typical feats for those in his age group.
Hale spent most of his summer participating in a fellowship program, at the Center for Space Nuclear Research.
"I originally signed up to be a part of the Idaho National Laboratory internship," he said. "They called and said that they read my application and invited me to be a part of this program."
The program was helping to study the feasibility of an electromagnetic rail system in space, which would be used to transport cargo to far away planets. The research focuses on putting a station on the moon, which would allow for cargo transport to Mars via the rail system.
"I helped work on programs to find the best launch dates and location," Hale said.
Hale was the first and only high school student to participate in the program so far.
"Being around so many people who have that much knowledge was great," he said. "It was essentially like taking graduate level courses as a 17-year-old."
Hale said the experience allowed him the chance to explore his career goals in a deeper fashion.
"I was thrown into the sharks den immediately," he said. "Everyone had a vast array of experiences and it allowed me to hear from them all and help me decide what course to pursue."
Hale said he know plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin to pursue a double major in business management and chemical engineering. He credits his grandfather, a chemical engineer, for his interest in science.
"They definitely influenced me to the point that I want to pursue by (doctorate level degree)," he said.
Hale said that while he signed a contract which doesn't allow him to speak about a lot of the research he performed; he does believe that the nation has lost ground in a race to Mars.
"If money wasn't an object and the public didn't think it was a waste we would already be on Mars," he said.