A dream project named Ben 10 Space Colony won Mukilan the prestigious prize.
A double-ribbon, helical DNA molecule shaped colony to accommodate the population of Madurai in space.
This dream project, named BEN 10 Space Colony, has fetched the first prize in the Space Settlement Design Contest 2008 conducted by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) AMES Centre for D.S. Mukilan, now a Std. XI student of Velammal Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Madurai, and Goutham Gopal, who was his colleague last year.
The project was one among the 156 submissions from 840 students from Bulgaria, Canada, China, India, Iran, Japan, Pakistan, Romania, Singapore, Slovenia, Uruguay and the United States of America.
Mukilan says they conceived the project from the shapes that were familiar to them in biology class and built up on them to make the colony accommodate the population of Madurai in 14 packs, each capable of holding 11,000 people, in space.
The BEN 10 Space Colony made effective use of available space and provided intra and inter-connectivity and had independent parking lots.
He was a bit disappointed when he could not make it to the NASA AMES Centre to make a presentation due to problems in getting a visa. He was happy to receive the certificate for the first prize from NASA.
The teacher too
His joy doubled when he, along with his teacher-guide, P. Maridasan, vice-principal, was invited to make a presentation of the project in the International Space Week celebration at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, on October 10.
The impressive presentation of the award-winning project before a galaxy of space scientists fetched him a PSLV rocket model as a token of appreciation. He, along with Mr. Maridasan, was felicitated at the school by B. Chandrasekaran, Principal.