Pune institutes to educate students about space science as Mangalyaan nears Mars

Sep 17, 2014, 02:57 IST | Namrata Anjana

As the Mars Orbiter Mission is set to reach the planet on September 24 for the satellite to start orbiting the planet, educational institutes are planning seminars to build interest among students about astronomy

As the orbiter launched under the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan, is set to reach Mars orbit on September 24, educational institutes across the city are taking this opportunity to build interest among students about astronomy. Vijnana Bharati, in collaboration with Jyotirvidya Parisanstha and Fergusson College, has organised a three-day seminar, where they will discuss astronomy, MOM and career opportunities for students at the college.

Indian Space Research Organisation
Eyes on the prize: As Indian scientists at Indian Space Research Organisation monitor the MOM, institutes in Pune also celebrate ISRO’s achievement. Pic/PTI

“Students can attend the seminar and get insights about the Mangalyaan mission, which will soon reach its defining moment as the orbiter will enter Mars orbit on September 24,” said professor Suresh Naik, former General Director ISRO.

“This is India’s first mission to Mars. Russia has failed numerous times trying to send a satellite to the planet. Even China and Japan have failed. The scientists at ISRO studied the reasons for their failures and designed the orbiter accordingly. Hence students will be educated about the significance of this mission in the seminar,” he added. The seminar will begin on September 24.

The Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) is also planning to organise a session about MOM. Sameer Dhurde, public outreach officer of IUCCA, said, “We are planning an interactive session which will help create awareness about astronomy amongst students.”

Dr AA Natu, professor from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), said, “Our students are tracing the path of MOM and the efforts taken by scientists right from its commencement. They also conduct informal group discussions about it.”

Rishikesh Pandit, an IUCCA student, said, “This will inspire people to pursue their career in science and will help garner funds for research activities.”

Orbiting Mars

After the success of lunar satellite Chandrayaan-1, ISRO is all set to celebrate installing the satellite in the Mars orbit. Special sensors have been installed for the satellite to detect methane and life on the planet. The satellite is expected to maintain a distance of 350 km from the planet to steer clear of Mars’ gravity, one-third of Earth’s gravity. Aside from detecting life, the satellite will send pictures and study the amount of carbon dioxide present in the planet.

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