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Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Pune: ISRO missions draw biggest crowds at science institutes

The Chandrayaan-2, Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and Manav Human Atlas programme were among the major attractions, besides some of the upcoming missions and projects like Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) and Aditya L1 mission.

Written by Anjali Marar | Pune | Published: February 29, 2020 11:39:17 am
pune news, isro, Chandrayaan-2, imd, iiser, ncl, indian express At an exhibition organised at Agharkar Research Institute on Friday. (Express photo: Ashish Kale)

Exhibits and models of ISRO’s missions Chandrayaan-2 and Aditya-L1 were the biggest draw for residents of Pune on the National Science Day on Friday. Crowds of children and their families thronged the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), India Meteorological Department (IMD), National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and scientific departments at Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), where most scientific displays highlighted India’s latest contributions in the fields of space, biotechnology, astronomy, chemistry and defence, among others.

The Chandrayaan-2, Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and Manav Human Atlas programme were among the major attractions, besides some of the upcoming missions and projects like Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) and Aditya L1 mission. However, the maximum crowds were drawn towards the Chandrayaan-2 and Aditya-L1 missions with youngsters enthusiastically posing for photographs with the model of the GSLV Mark III rocket, which was placed near Bhaskara Hall at IUCAA.

The Vikram lander and Pragyan rover, launched as part of the Chandrayaan-2 mission in September last year, had failed to execute a soft landing on the Moon. But this was no deterrent for the crowds who were seen waiting patiently for the maiden simulation-based film screening, which focused on the launch Chandrayaan-2. Presented in Marathi and English by UK-based research scholar John Paice, visitors of all age groups witnessed the simulation-controlled successful landing of Vikram rover during the special 20-minute screening. The screening was followed by a question-answer session.

IUCAA will observe an open day on Saturday too.

No ‘Open Day’ at  IISER, NCL

Most of the scientific institutions and research labs in the city had thrown open their gates, allowing visitors, school and college students into their labs and workspaces. But 100 students who visited Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), Pune were denied entry into the institute.  While it is mandatory for government-run scientific institutions to observe an open day on National Science Day, IISER security personnel reportedly shut the gates on the visitors. The IISER administration clarified that the incident had occurred due to miscommunication.

Similarly, CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) observed a Science Day that was meant for ‘select invitees’ only. Despite a lecture presented by Mission Shakti Project Director U Raja Babu from Hyderabad-based Defence and Research Development Organisation, only a select audience was able to attend it. During his public address on ‘Technological Challenges: Missile and Space Missions’, U Raja Babu shared that wars of current times were fought and were remotely controlled from multiple locations. He said, “Network centric warfare, information and cyber warfare will be predominant in the years to come.”

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