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ISRO planning to permit school students to use its laboratories

Staff Reporter

A good transition is happening: Mayilsamy Annadurai

— Photo: M.Vedhan

In-detail: Project Director of Chandrayaan-I Mayilsamy Annadurai interacts with school students in Chennai on Monday.

CHENNAI: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will consider permitting high school students to carry out project work in its laboratories, Project Director of Chandrayaan-I Mayilsamy Annadurai said here on Monday. Speaking to hundreds of children from various schools during brainstorming sessions held at MCC Higher Secondary School and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram, Dr.Annadurai said, “The growing interest among school children on space research after the success of Chandrayaan-I will give an impetus to space research in future.”

Now, around 200 students of graduate and post graduate courses in the country are permitted to use the ISRO facility for their project work every year. It was not possible to allow a large number of students because of security concerns, he added.

As the success of Indian space research has come at a time of the slump in the IT industry, many bright young minds in the country will start to think of a career in space research, he added.

“A good transition is happening,” said Dr.Annadurai.

He said that the country could achieve the long term goals of space research in a shorter period if more school students came forward to contribute to research in the field.

The education departments of Kerala and Maharashtra have sought the advice of ISRO for including the practical aspects of Chandrayaan in the school curriculum. The scientists are looking into the requests and the students in these States would study about the practical aspects of Chandrayaan as part of their curriculum from next year, he said.

Dr.Annadurai clarified the doubts raised by school students of the city. When a student asked him when the country would be able to set up a base on the moon he said, “2020 onwards.”

He mentioned the importance of tapping the potential of the moon in meeting the energy needs of the country. “India is keen on energy. One of the benefits of sending man to the moon would be the possibility of an alternative fuel,” he told the students.

He also patiently answered the questions on basic science. When students asked about the absence of an international collaboration to reduce the expenditure on space research he said, “Strategic reasons do not permit most countries to share all the information on space research.”

However, he added that sharing of knowledge was there among countries and research institutes. Head of Technical Coordination and Public Awareness Section, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research J.Daniel Chellappa presided over the sessions.

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