The Museum of Astronomy and Space Science in Kolkata, which was inaugurated by Astronaut Rakesh Sharma in October, will be opened to the public from Sunday.
A galaxy of exhibits – from strands of Neil Armstrong’s hair to rocks from the moon and Mars – await enthusiasts at this new "one-of-its-kind" museum of astronomy and space science.
The museum is located on the ground floor of the Indian Centre for Space Physics, a government-aided institute, at Netaji Nagar in the southern fringes of the city.
From December 3, the general public will be allowed to visit the museum between 9 am and 6 pm on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays till further notice, Prof Sandip Kumar Chakrabarti, the director of the Indian Centre for Space Physics, said.
The key exhibits include hair strands of Armstrong (the first person to walk on the moon), a 370-crore-year-old bacteria fossil, scaled-down models of Apollo 11 and the aircraft of the Wright brothers, handwritten notes and autographs of eminent astronauts and scientists from the last 200 years, as well as rocks from the moon, Mars and various meteorites.
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Senior Scientist Dr Gautam Chattopadhyay visited the museum on Saturday.
"I am thrilled to see such a huge collection and as far as my knowledge goes this is a one-of-its-kind museum in the entire country," Chattopadhyay told PTI.
Very few students pursue science and technology these days as most students go for job-oriented courses, he said.
But this will encourage students to take up science and technology while pursuing higher studies, Chattopadhyay said.
The 1,200-artefact-strong repository also features rare documents like handwritten diaries and notes of eminent scientists and Nobel laureates, Chakrabarti said.
Spread over 7,000 square feet, the museum was inaugurated by Rakesh Sharma, the celebrated first Indian astronaut to venture into space.
Sharma was part of a joint Soviet-Indian spaceflight in 1984.
The exhibits have been sourced from different auctions across the world, while some were donated by family members of scientists and astronauts.
A single ticket for the museum visit has been priced at Rs 100. Schools buying 100 tickets will get a discount of Rs 20 for each ticket. People are encouraged to purchase tickets online.
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