“Sending a rocket to Mars is like diving into a pool, where both the diving board and the pool are moving, and the pool is smaller than the diving board,” said BR Guruprasad, a scientist from the Indian Space Research Organisation, addressing a session for children titled Destination Mars, conducted on Thursday as part of the ongoing Hindustan Times Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.
The scientist had travelled to the city from Bangalore for the session on the Red Planet and India’s adventures in space.
Some of the facts he presented in the lively interactive session elicited gasps from his young audience, and some of their responses likewise surprised him.
“These children could do research papers on Mars,” he said, laughing as the children, aged 7 to 15, promptly answered questions not just about that planet but about the entire solar system.
“The sun appears whitish on Mars when it sets because of its different atmosphere,” said one child.
“Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system because of its thick clouds,” said another.
It is overwhelming to see such enthusiasm in children about science. They are the ones who will take the country forward in this field, Guruprasad said.
Part of the session was dedicated to India’s recently launched interplanetary Mars Orbiter Mission, with Guruprasad discussing how the orbiter was built.
“I got to know so much about our country’s space mission. I want to study more about it,” said Kush Idnani, a Class 6 student and Peddar Road resident.
“It is a matter of pride to have a scientist from our own country tell us all about the successes we have had in space,” added Priya Fonseca, a Chembur resident who was at the session with her seven-year-old son.