|The Xavier’s boys before leaving for Florida. Picture by Arnab Mondal
A decade after Mohan ‘SRK’ Bhargava quit a job at Nasa to bring about change in Swades, flocks of students from the city are making dream trips to the space research station.
Aditya Narayan Das, Vitul Agarwal and Rishab Nandi of St. Xavier’s Collegiate School were bursting with excitement days before embarking on their maiden trip to the US along with 15 other boys selected on the basis of their merit and interest in space technology.
The Xavier’s boys are not the only ones going to Nasa. In January, 16 students from Lakshmipat Singhania Academy (LSA) won the 10th Asian Regional Space Settlement Design Competition conducted by Nasa in Manesar. They will take part in the international finals in Florida in July. In December last year, nine students from Mahadevi Birla World Academy, along with a group from DPS Newtown, participated in a robotics workshop at the Nasa headquarters.
“I love exploring things. Visiting Nasa is like a dream come true. I want to touch the moon rock there,” said Aditya, a student of Class XIII.
The boys are being accompanied by their principal, Father Benny Thomas, and senior physics teacher Santosh Sen on the 12-day tour that will see them tour the Kennedy Space Center and take part in the Space Trek Programme in Orlando. They will be engaged in a host of interesting activities such as shuttle launch, building robots and interaction with astronauts.
“The students will attend a workshop on robotics there. They will also take part in a robot-making competition,” Sen said.
Principal Thomas said the opportunity will be “a leap forward” for the boys, who were also looking forward to visits to Disneyland and Universal Studio.
Sanchita Sanganeria and her friends from LSA are busy preparing for the Florida challenge. “I participated last year too and we won,” said Sanchita, Class XI.
Principal Meena Kak is confident her students will do the school proud. “We at LSA believe in unconventional teaching. Knowing more about space and space settlements is a great way to do so. I hope they win the finals and even if they don’t, we want them to know that we are proud of them.”
The Mahadevi Birla girls were selected on the basis of a presentation they had prepared. “The kids loved the exposure and the tour around Kennedy Space Center,” said Anjana Saha, principal.