T-25 and counting. All systems are `go.' In a short while from now the 25th anniv celebrations of the prestigious Nehru Science Centre will be launched. Located in the heart of Mumbai in Worli, it is a lovely sprawling place which attracts throusands of visitors daily, especially students.
While ``Beyond Moon and Mars'' (BMM) enjoys visiting the centre, one area which interests him most is the vast aerospace hall. Those who have never had the opportunity of visiting Sriharikota, India's main spaceport, be sure you have one in the centre of Mumbai!
For space addicts like BMM the first things which catches one's attention are the huge rocket models, from the earliest sounding rockets to the three stage Geo Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). One can also see the work horse of Isro, the four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). They are huge and almost makes you feel that you are standing next to the real launch vehicle on the launch pad at Sriharikota.
That is not all. You can also see models of different satellites like for example the Insat communication satellites to the remote sensing satellites. In case you have the time and you would like to know more about them, just press a button and you will hear a brief commentary.
Walk a little ahead and what do you see? A replica of the mission control room at Sriharikota. The computers provide data about the movement and position of satellites. And there is a section where one can know details about what is a satellite operating in the polar sun synchronous orbit and the one in the geo synchronous orbit which is at an altitude of 36,000 kms above the equator. BMM would love to spend hours in the space section of the aerospace hall.
BMM has one suggestion. With the success of the Indian moon mission, Chandrayaan-1, the centre should now expand the small section where it provides information about the mission and give more details about the Indian lunar project. It can give data through posters about the discovery of water, carbon diaxide and so on. Perhaps, a continuos video about about Chandrayaan-1 can also be considered.. And something about Chandrayaan-2 too, now that this mission is steadily on its way to the launch pad from the labs and workshops--the launch is slated for 2013.
Also, the centre can also think of selling space souvenirs like Indian rocket and satellite models and T-shirts with the logo of Indian space missions in its shop. For my birthday, thanks to my daughter,Rimanika, I got a T-shirt designed with the image of Chandrayaan's Moon Impact Probe. I wore it on my birthday and I plan to wear it again on November 14, 2010, which marks the second anniv of India landing on the moon. It was this probe--a brain child of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam--which crash landed on the south pole region of the moon on the night of November 14,2008 with the Indian tri colour.
Here is another suggestion. Why not a big model of the Chandrayaan spacecraft in the middle of the aerospace hall?
T-25 minutes and counting. Have a lovely and successful flight into the next few years, Nehru Science Centre..
All the very best.