Bangalore boy’s experiment may be conducted on space station

Two of the six experiments will eventually make it to the ISS

Written by Johnson T A | Bangalore | Published: February 23, 2012 2:58:31 am

An experiment to test the thermal conductivity of ferro fluids in space,devised by an 18-year-old from Bangalore,is vying for the top prize in an online competition: a chance to have his experiment conducted – and live streamed on YouTube — on the Space Station (ISS).

Sachin Kukke’s experiment for the YouTube Space Lab — a global online search for two best teenager-devised experiments that can be performed on the ISS and which is supported by Nasa,the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency — was one of the six chosen from among 60 proposals uploaded to and voted for on YouTube by 150,000 users of the site,both scientists and laypersons. Two of the six experiments will eventually make it to the ISS.

Google said the final list of 60 entries included nine from India,one short of the most number of proposals from the US. Sachin’s proposal was adjudged the best from the Asia Pacific region.

Sachin,the son of a police constable,is studying aerospace engineering at BMS College in Bangalore.

He devoted much time — consulting his professors,poring over books,journals and the Internet — to devise the experiment,he said.

“The concept behind the contest was that the experiment proposed must be an innovative one that had not been done before. From my research,I realised that there had been no experiments on the thermal conductivity of ferro fluids (a liquid that is strongly magnetised in presence of a magnetic field) in microgravity,” Sachin said.

The experiment,Sachin explained,aims at understanding if liquid magnets can help us travel deeper into space and also whether these can be used to make advanced cooling systems. “I had never imagined this. It is like a dream,” he said.

Sachin still has to beat competition from five others who made the shortlist of six to make it to the ISS — Emerald Bresnahan of US,New Zealand duo Patrick Zeng and Derek Chan,Spaniard duo Laura Calvo and Maria Vilas,Egyptian Amr Mohammed and Dorothy Chen and Sara Ma of US.

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