Society

Naming a Martian crater

WORTHY EFFORT: R. Rishekesh (left) with R. Swarnageetha, Principal. Photo: T. Saravanan

WORTHY EFFORT: R. Rishekesh (left) with R. Swarnageetha, Principal. Photo: T. Saravanan   | Photo Credit: MAMP07CRATER

R. Rishekesh’s interest in space science has led him to win an international contest on naming a Martian Crater. The crater is named as ‘ramesh rishe’. The ramesh rishe crater, which is around one km in diameter, will find a place on Uwingu’s new map of Mars, which the Mars One mission is using already.

“I did this in memory of my father, who is no more,” says Rishekesh. “It was he who taught me space science. I still remember the days when my father used to take me to the terrace for star gazing,” he adds.

A ninth standard student of S.D.H. Jain Vidyalaya, Rishekesh is a quiz kid winning a lot of trophies in several quiz competitions. An avid reader of American astronomer and author Carl Edward Sagan, Rishekesh developed interest in space science.

As a regular visitor to the space science-related websites, he stumbled upon the Mars One mission and came to know about this contest three months ago. The contest was conducted by Uwingu, founded by astronomers, planetary scientists, space educators, and former NASA personnel. He enrolled for membership. “At that time there was no membership fee for students and I get information about several contests on space science regularly. It motivated me to take part in the competition,” he says.

He participated in three levels of contests and emerged successful. He competed with 1,00,000 contestants who had registered for the competition. The contest was open for all age groups. “There were several questions like what is the first artificial satellite to be placed in orbit and I answered 95 per cent of the questions correctly,” he says.

Now Uwingu is collecting fund to provide grants to space researchers, educators, and entrepreneurs. Uwingu is creating the first crowd-sourced Mars map, with names for approximately 5,00,000 craters on Mars. Its mission is to create new ways for people to personally connect with space exploration and astronomy.

“There is also a contest for naming the stars but the age limit was 30 years and above and I was not qualified to participate,” he says. Rishekesh has a vast personal collection of books on space science at home. He also owns a telescope and during free time his favourite haunt is the terrace at his home where he star gazes in the evenings.

“Only last week I came to know about Rishekesh’s achievement and I made him explain Mars and craters to his fellow students in assembly. He has done this out of his personal interest. We try our best to motivate our students to emulate Rishekesh,” R. Swarnageetha, Principal, S.D.H. Jain Vidyalaya.

“My ambition is to become a space scientist and now I aim at naming a planet like the NASA Rover teams,” says Rishekesh.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 12:34:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/Naming-a-Martian-crater/article14474413.ece

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