When things heat up

Sampati finally explains how his wings got burnt.

Published - April 02, 2022 03:55 pm IST

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 rightbut 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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