Amity University Mumbai recently witnessed an enlightening initiative, the "Space Science and Technology Awareness Training" (START) program, brought forth by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS) in Dehradun.
The inauguration of this online introductory training was graced by ISRO Chairman Dr S. Somnath and presided over by Dr A.S. Kiran Kumar, Chair, Apex Science Board ISRO, and Scientific Secretary, ISRO. The program specifically targeted undergraduate and postgraduate students pursuing science and technology, aiming to demonstrate the interdisciplinary nature of space science and inspire the application of individual talents in this fascinating domain.
The overarching goal of the START program is to cultivate a skilled workforce that will lead the future of space science and research. It delves into various topics, including insights into the Indian space science exploration program and exploring research opportunities in space science and technologies.
Addressing the participants, ISRO Chairman Dr S. Somnath expressed his vision of research institutes and academia coming together for future missions of national importance. He hoped that the lectures presented during the program would ignite a passion for research in the areas of space science and exploration among young minds.
Amid the inauguration function, Prof. Dr A. W. Santhosh Kumar, Vice-Chancellor of Amity University Mumbai, extended gratitude as ISRO approved Amity University, Maharashtra, Mumbai as one of the nodal centres for organising the START program. A considerable number of students, approximately 35 from different institutes, displayed a keen interest in attending the training program.
Prof. Dr A. W. Santhosh Kumar also highlighted the significance of space exploration and lauded the establishment of the Amity Centre of Excellence in Astrobiology. The centre has been committed to advancing astrobiology and making remarkable contributions to scientific research and education using cutting-edge technologies and methods. The Ramanujan and DST research fellows of the Center for Excellence in Astrobiology are involved in the ISRO training liaison
The program featured a series of lectures encompassing space science and technology and the Indian Space Exploration Programme. It provided students with insights into various fields, including Astrobiology, Solar System, Comparative Planetology, Space Weather, Astronomy & Astrophysics, and emphasised research opportunities and career paths.
Dr Penna Suprasanna Dean of Research and the coordinator for AUM-START, mentioned that the timing of the program aligns with the commencement of the M.Sc. in Astrobiology and Space Sciences at Amity, Mumbai – a program offered for the first time in India.
Amity University Mumbai has been actively involved in hosting research fellows from DST and DBT through the Ramanujan and Ramalingaswami fellowships, fostering research and collaboration in the field of Astrobiology and Space sciences. Two of these fellows are also part of the scientific team for ISRO's upcoming Aditya L1 mission to the Sun.
The annual continuation of this training course by ISRO will benefit the students of M.Sc. Astrobiology and other interested individuals, thus creating a bright future for space science enthusiasts.