Children

When things heat up

Sampati e3xplainsto Hanuman, Jatayu and nala as to how his wings got burnt.

Sampati e3xplainsto Hanuman, Jatayu and nala as to how his wings got burnt. | Photo Credit: Illustration: Sahil Upalekar

The story so far:Hanuman, Sampati and Jatayu listen to Nala’s lecture on magnetism

Hanuman: Now, back to Sampati. What happened to your wings.? How did they burn?

Sampati: Has Nala ever spoken to you about the death of Kalpana Chawla, the Indian astronaut?

Hanuman: Yes, but not in detail. He just told me that, in the future, a space shuttle named Columbia would disintegrate with seven astronauts on-board, one of whom was Kalpana Chawla.

Sampati: Correct.

Hanuman: Wasn’t it due to a structural failure? What exactly happened?

Sampati: You are right but do you know what got damaged?

Hanuman: No.

Sampati: The heat shield. Just rub your hands fast.

Hanuman does so.

Sampati: As fast as you can. Faster.

Hanuman rubs at high speed and soon stops.

Hanuman: It’s too hot…

Sampati: In modern science, this is called friction. When molecules interact with each other, they produce heat energy. When the interaction is at a great speed, the temperature can even go upto 3,000° F. There is additional compression of air, pressure builds up, which adds more heat as well.

Hanuman: Oh, so the heat shield got damaged in the space shuttle?

Sampati: The Columbia shuttle had a shield, which got damaged. A body like mine or any other birds’ is much lighter and non-heat resistant. If I hadn’t made my wings the heat shield for Jatayu, who was falling at a high speed, I would have lost him. I’d rather lose my wings than my brother.

A tearful Jatayu hugs Sampati.

Hanuman: Wings turned into re-entry heat shield! Will I ever find someone to love me so much?

Nala: You will, Hanuman.

Hanuman: Who is that,?

Nala: Wait for the future to unfold, Hanuman.

The author is the founder and CEO of Vaayusastra Aerospace, an IIT-Madras incubated ed-tech startup that offers Air Science workshops for children between five and 14 years.


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Printable version | Jun 29, 2022 12:35:28 am | https://www.thehindu.com/children/when-things-heat-up/article65267238.ece