Tamil Nadu

Sivakasi student to present project at NASA

Vishnu Prasad Ram addresses a press conference in Madurai. Photo: G. Moorthy  

A team of students from Chennai will visit National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S., to present a project on developing a ‘fly-by’ machine that will make possible a manned mission to Mars in 2018.

The eight-student team, named ‘The Indo-Martian Express’ from Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering, had sent a 50-page report to U.S.-based private organisation Inspiration Mars.

The organisation had announced an online global competition in September 2013, inviting a 50-page project on ‘mission to Mars with humans possible’ after its own project on fly-by machine was rejected by NASA.

Vishnu Prasad Ram, a third-year student of the college who hails from Sivakasi, will present the team’s project to NASA’s mass convention in Houston on August 9. At a press conference here, he said the team took about six months to complete the project.

A natural fly-by machine would travel around the surface of Mars by using its gravity. It would return to the Earth, after completing a full circle, using its gravitational force. This machine would take 510 days to reach the Earth after completing its mission, he said.

“In our project, we suggested a method to reduce the duration of the mission by converting the elliptical path to the hyperbolic path with a powered fly-by machine. In this process, the machine will be pushed into the space and switched on once it entered the space and would use its fuel to accelerate so the number of days could be lessened. By using our powered fly-by concept, a total of 70 days of the mission could be reduced and the whole process completed in 431 days,” he explained. “The project prepared by our team addresses all mission aspects, which include the trajectory, propulsion, life support systems, radiation shielding considering the safety of humans in the machine, cost estimate, atmospheric re-entry and a development schedule,” he added.

With close to 58 entries from across the globe, students from the Chennai college made the country proud by making it to the finals of the International Inspiration Mars Student Design Contest, a world wide competition involving the design of two-persons mars fly-by mission for 2018.

“It’s a matter of great delight and brings a lot of pride to the State and the region as it was a competition organised by such an eminent and recognised research centre NASA” said N. Siva Subramanian, Project Consultant and former ISRO scientist.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 7:21:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/sivakasi-student-to-present-project-at-nasa/article6279412.ece

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