At the humble, one-storeyed Government Higher Secondary School on Kozhikode Medical College campus on Thursday morning, two young minds plan to launch a robot to planet Mercury.
Siddharth S. Raj and Abhirami Elizabeth have already designed one and named it ‘Robot Budhiyan’. The blueprint shows the robot will trap solar energy to power its brain sensors and live telecast data to ‘Probe Budhiyan’, which will act as an “intermediary satellite” with distant Earth.
The models of the Budhiyans were on display as part of an exhibition the school conducted during the Space Week celebrations. Flanking the young creators were a posse of proud teachers and classmates.
“There is no time. India has a lot of catching up to do in space science with the US and France far ahead. We made our presence felt with the launch of just one satellite, ‘Chandrayaan’,” Siddharth said.
Abhirami says their model may be cheap – cardboard, a waste basket, glue and coloured paper – but their dream to conquer space is not.
“Look at Ms. (Sunita) Williams, her courage is an inspiration for us. They say we will send humans to space by 2020. But I feel it may not take that long. We want to be part of that endeavour and contribute whenever it happens,” she said.
Siddharth held his head high when he said, “look, the history of astronomy started in India with Aryabhata. The future will also be ours”.
Behind the children stands tall a giant rocket modelled on PSLV – C12 made by the children with the guidance and help of the school’s PTA president, P.S. Selvaraj, and teachers.
“We just told the children to fashion a satellite or a launch vehicle using their own imagination. They hardly had a week to prepare for the exhibition. Abhirami and Siddharth discussed with us the models for Budhiyan. They said they wanted to build something that would go to unchartered territories in space,” Sheeba Anilkumar, their teacher, said.
Students said the exhibition was a product of their collective knowledge, besides help from teachers. Collages, posters of astronauts tied to a string, flap in the light breeze at the entrance to the school. The younger students have just finished taking a tour and are on their way back to the classrooms.
“As a government school, we have limited resources and infrastructure, but time and again these children prove to us that the mind has no limits, creativity has no boundaries,” Vilasini K, a teacher, said.
To the children, whatever the school offers is only the beginning of a long journey to conquer space.