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Mission moon: the young are gung ho

india Updated: Oct 18, 2008 08:50 IST

IANS
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The student community in India's tech capital is quite busy these days, not just with preparations for the mid-term exams but with newfound interest to know more about the moon.

The credit for generating interest about the moon among the school and college-goers goes to India's lunar explorer, Chandrayaan-1 which is all set to be launched Oct 22 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

"Our school gives special emphasis to science and its related branches. India's space research work is going to achieve a new milestone as it is all set for its maiden lunar mission and we're leaving no stone unturned to make the students aware about the entire moon mission," Charles Noronha, vice-principal of St. Joseph's Boys' High School, told IANS.

The science club of the 150-year-old school on Museum Road in the centre of the city has been pretty active in making the students aware of India's maiden moon mission.

The members of the club, mostly students, have been busy giving lecture-demonstrations about the moon and what the moon mission intends to do during its two-year exploration trip.

"We're also encouraging the students to read on their own about the moon in science books and journals," added the vice-principal.

"Sky gazing is my hobby and I spend hours admiring the celestial objects from my terrace at night. The moon has always fascinated me because of its grandeur and beauty. These days I am also reading a lot about the moon and its special features on the Internet and I'm waiting for the D-day when Chandrayaan will take off, which hopefully will be telecast live," smiled Ramesh M, a student of the school.

A team of science teachers at Delhi Public School at its North Campus at Yelahanka, about 15 km from the city centre, is preparing a special presentation about the moon mission to be delivered at the morning assembly two days before the Chandrayaan liftoff from Sriharikota.

"The mission to the moon is special for all Indians as scientists have worked hard on the project. In order to make the students aware of the entire mission, a group of science faculty is preparing a special presentation for the students ahead of the launch," said principal Sneh Preet Seal.

If on one hand school-goers are getting their facts correct about the moon and its mission, science students from colleges, among them a few aspiring scientists in India's IT hub, feel that the major milestone in the history of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will provide a new direction to space research in India.

"As an Indian I feel proud that the hard work of the scientists will soon bear fruit. The successful launch of the mission to the moon will usher in new understanding about the entire solar system, as formation and evolution of the moon are central to the understanding of our solar system. I wish all the best to the mission," said Seema Hussain, a physics student in Bishop Cotton Women's Christian College. She aspires to become an astrophysicist..

Srinand Swamy, another student, echoed the view.

"October 22 will be a historic day for India," he said. "With the mission to the moon India will be at par with the US and Russia in terms of work done in the field of space research. Although I have to read a lot to know more about the nitty-gritty of the mission moon, I still feel the Chandrayaan project will further India's space research activities."

Arun P, a student of mechanical engineering from the Bangalore College of Engineering and Technology at Hosur Road, around 12 km east of city centre, said the lunar mission would definitely help understand the moon and its features better.

"I am sure the endeavour of the scientists will result in upgrading India's technological know-how and open up opportunity for planetary research to the scientist fraternity of the country," said Arun.