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திங்கள், டிசம்பர் 29, 2008

A fulfilling year for ISRO

CHENNAI: The year 2008 was a golden year for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with successes in both launch vehicle and spacecraft technologies.

Capping them was the impeccable launch of Chandrayaan-1, India’s first mission to the moon on October 22 from Sriharikota, and the Moon Impact Probe (MIP) hitting the moon’s surface on November 14. India joined Russia, the U.S, Japan and the European Space Agency in the elite club of those who have impacted a probe on the moon’s surface.

M. Annadurai, Project Director, Chandrayaan-1, said: “For Chandrayaan-1 team, this year has been a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. Definitely, when we look back, 2008 has been fulfilling and we have a sense of achievement.”

S. Satish, Director, Publications and Public Relations, ISRO, called the Chandrayaan-1 mission “a unique success because the tricolour reached the lunar surface in ISRO’s first attempt to send a spacecraft to the moon.” He described 2008 as “a landmark year for ISRO.”

On April 28, ISRO scored a perfect 10 when its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) put 10 satellites in orbit one after the other, a world record. They included two Indian satellites — Cartosat-2A and the Indian Mini Satellite (IMS-1), and eight nano satellites from abroad. It was a remarkable achievement because the PSLV core-alone version — without its customary six strap-on motors — did the job. Using a single rocket to launch multiple satellites is technologically challenging because the rocket’s last stage should eject them into the required orbits in a precisely timed sequence so that the satellites do not collide.

Global presence

On January 21, in a secret launch from Sriharikota, another PSLV core-alone put Israel’s Tecsar satellite in orbit.

Antrix Corporation, ISRO’s commercial wing, made big money with the launch of the Tecsar and the nano satellites and also made inroads into the international market for satellites by building the W2M, which was put in orbit on December 21. The W2M, a communications satellite, was jointly built by ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore and EADS-Astrium of Europe for Eutelsat, the European communication satellite giant. “The Eutelsat was a demanding customer. We met its deadlines,” said Mr. Satish.

The ISRO crossed a significant milestone in building an indigenous cryogenic engine when the engine passed the flight-acceptance trial on December 18. This engine will power the Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D3) flight in 2009.

Meanwhile, “everything is perfect with Chandrayaan-1” and all its 10 instruments “are working well,” said Mr. Annadurai.


Mysore, Dec.29- Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman G. Madhavan Nair, delivered a lecture on India’s achievements in space as part the Technical Lecture Series of Institution of Engineers, Mysore Chapter, here yesterday.

He said investment in space technology has paid rich dividends to the country and that ISRO has succeeded in taking its benefits from the confines of the laboratory to society at large.

The country cannot adopt the technologies developed by developed countries as it would not serve India’s purpose where 70 per cent of the people lived in rural areas and it called for addressing technological issues from the local angle, he said.

"Our home-grown technology is world class and the Chandrayaan mission was accomplished in four years from the time of project conception, which is remarkable for a maiden mission," Nair added.

Stating that there were critics who questioned the need for spending money on such programmes, the ISRO chief said the spin-off benefits of investment in space had provided rich dividends.

Madhavan Nair offered floral tributes to the bust of Sir MV at the Institution premises.

K.R. Sridhara Murthi, Executive Director, Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of ISRO, said Indian technology and know-how had global recognition. He said it was only last week that a state-of-the-art communication satellite – W2M, built by ISRO on a commercial basis for Eutelsat, was successfully launched by the European Ariane-5 launch vehicle from French Guiana.

"We had stiff competition from US and other European countries but ISRO outdid the rest and bagged the orders for the satellite," said Sridhara Murthi.

Institution of Engineers Chairman C.N. Babu, Hon. Secretary C.S. Rajashekargowda, former Chairman K.N. Subba Rao and others were present.

'Chandrayaan-1 symbolic of India's future in space programme'

Coimbatore (PTI): Highlighting the importance of team effort, Chandrayaan-1 Project Director M Annadurai on Monday said the success of the country's maiden moon mission was symbolic of what India could be in future.

"It (Chandrayaan-1) demonstrated how India could get along and lead a team of technical and scientific experts from internationally reputed organisations to realise an ambitious mission," he said while delivering an address at the Amrita University here.

"Team spirit is the mantra for achieving something big," Annadurai told the students.

"Harmonising efforts of all team members towards a common goal and realising the objective with an allotted budget and schedule demonstrated how good the team has converted a very difficult situation into a historic opportunity," he said.

The International Lunar Exploration Working Group's International Cooperation Award was given to ISRO Chandrayaan-1 team, for the "challenging accommodation and tests" of the most international lunar payload ever -- from 20 countries -- with the successful launch on the PSLV on Oct 22 and for the successful lunar insertion on November 8, 2008, he said.

"If ISRO can achieve such a feat, why not other Indian teams. As a team we can do wonders. It can be accomplished as a team in all the fields, let it be in education, medicine, industry, trade, commerce, press, electronic media, sports, arts, service department and even in politics," Annadurai said.

Scientists to announce findings of moon data next month: ISRO

Bangalore , Dec 29 Scientists would announce next month preliminary findings based on the data generated by instruments on board India&aposs Chandrayaan-1 moon mission, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, G Madhavan Nairsaid today.

"Today, Chandrayaan is sending very good data to the ground stations. Soon, we will have the preliminary analysis of the data. By the end of January, we will have session by which the scientists will come together and announce the first findings,"he said.

" There is already some lead about the presence of iron and calcium and so on. Yes, there are indications. But to say it conclusively, a lot of analysis need to be done,"he said.

ISRO developing rocket that cuts satellite launch cost by half

BANGALORE: India is developing a new-generation rocket that would cut satellite launch cost by half, boosting low-cost access to space, Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, G Madhavan Nair said on Monday. 

Nair, also Secretary in the Department of Space, said the cost of Indian launch vehicles are currently lower by 20-30 per cent compared to international prices. 

"But by developing the next generation (launch) vehicles...Mark-III (GSLV-Mk III), we should be able to cut down the (launch) cost to half of what it is today", he said, delivering the Silver Jubilee Commemoration lecture organised by the KEB Engineers' Association here. 

He said GSLV-Mk III, expected to be operational in 2010, would make India the cheapest and lowest cost satellite launch services provider in the world. 

According to officials of Bangalore-headquartered ISRO, GSLV-Mk III is envisaged to launch four tonne satellites into geosynchronous transfer orbit. 

Nagaland's potential lies in rich bio-diversity-KALAM

Kohima : Former President of India, Dr APJ Kalam has said that judicious exploration of the rich bio-diversity available in Nagaland can greatly boost the state's economy.
Responding to a student who wanted to know what Nagaland needs to do for its economic growth during an interaction in Dimapur at the Delhi Public School as part of the ongoing 16th National Children's Science Congress 2008 yesterday, Dr. Kalam suggested that along with herbal aromatic plants, Nagaland should explore its immense potentials in agro-processing enterprises, horticulture and floriculture as also its native craftsmanship by infusing appropriate technologies so as to generate exportable products. And Naga youth can take a lead on this aspect, he said.
On the role of students, Kalam said the primary mission of a student should be to excel in studies. He said success would come so long as students have a set goal, acquire the knowledge, work hard with devotion and persevere.
On the role of teachers, Dr Kalam said a good teacher is one who don't use "old notes" but have something new to say to the students always. A teacher should prepare lesson everyday, he added.
Describing the children as "born scientists" since they ask a lot of questions, Dr Kalam suggested the teachers to encourage their pupils to ask more questions as well as interact with the students.
When a student asked whether he regards his elevation to Rashtrapati Bhavan or the success of the Pokhran tests as his success story in life, Dr Kalam quipped neither of them satisfied him more than his research findings on carbon to make lighter materials to fly missiles, since the same materials were used by a Hyderabad-based hospital to make lighter calipers for physically handicapped children, who earlier found it difficult to walk with heavy calipers.
Emphasizing the need for exploration of all non-conventional energy sources in view of the problem posed by global warming to planet earth, Dr Kalam said research on solar energy using nano-technology would lead to better fuel efficiency in vehicles to hit the roads. He pointed out the present available technology on solar powered vehicles could attain only 20-25 per cent fuel efficiency but nano-techlogy showed the efficiency in solar cells used in cars can be enhanced to 60-65 per cent.
"Don't worry, wait for a few years, you will get your solar powered cars to drive on Dimapur roads," Dr Kalam said in reply to a question from a student on when she will get opportunity to drive her vehicle powered by solar energy.
Also participating in the interaction, former UGC chairman and noted scientist Prof Yashpal wanted the teachers to listen and learn from students to teach them properly. "Do not emphasize much on what they answer from their syllabus, rather give importance to what the students question," Prof Yashpal suggested.
Asking the teachers never to say no to questions from students, Prof Yashpal pointed out that "to discover a question is more important than to read the answer." The 5-day children science congress is being held here on the theme 'The Planet our home: Explore, care and share' and attended by over 1,200 delegates, comprising students, teachers and scientists, from different parts of the country.

Space research funds

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has sanctioned Rs 1 crore to Calcutta University (CU) for space research.

“As part of a scheme to strengthen space research in the country, Isro has decided to provide funds to five universities in the country. CU has been selected as one of the universities,” said Tapan Mukherjee, the CU pro vice-chancellor (finance).

The radio physics department of CU will take up the research projects.

Nine institutes were shortlisted by Isro for the grant. Five institutes were selected after a final screening in Bangalore in May. The institutes that made the cut include the University of Pune, University of Hyderabad and Benaras Hindu University.

Four Isro-sponsored projects are in progress at CU. The quantum of grant varies between Rs 35 lakh and Rs 65 lakh. The new grant will enable advanced space research, said a teacher of the department. The first instalment of Rs 5 lakh has been released.

“The new projects will soon be underway,” said CU vice-chancellor Suranjan Das. The decision to start work was approved by the university syndicate last Tuesday. There is no deadline for the projects.

Five teaching posts will be created under the programme. Isro will pay the salaries for five years.“We will urge Isro to provide funds for continuing the posts after five years. But we may also have to approach the state government,” said a university official.

சனி, டிசம்பர் 27, 2008

Chnadrayaan has propelled India to select nations in space tech

Indian moon mission Chnadrayaan has propelled India to the select league of the nations with expertise in space technology. India is only the second nation besides China from the third world to have successfully launched a moon mission.

The space club so far consisted of only United States, Russia, Japan and France. But India has made strides like no other country when it comes to space technology, and amazingly with a very small budget. 

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had a meager budget of Rs 380 crore for Chandrayaan-1. For similar moon missions, the budget of US and other countries was several times higher than that of ISRO.

Chandrayaan’s success has been a big scientific feat for a developing nation like India that has not received much scientific assistance from the west.

ISRO has already made it clear that the Indian lunar mission is not an exercise in reinventing the wheel. Chandrayaan-1 is striving to unravel the hitherto unknown features of the moon for the first time.

ISRO points out that a lunar mission can provide impetus to science in India, a challenge to technology and possibly a new dimension to international cooperation. Also on the agenda are the preparation of the three dimensional atlas of the regions on the moon and the chemical mapping of the entire lunar surface.

This is a dream for any nation. And India fulfilled its long cherished dream on 22nd October earlier this year. 

For India, which began its space journey in a modest way in 1963 with the launch of a 9-kilo rocket from a research facility at the fishing hamlet of Thumba in Kerala, the Chandrayaan-1 marks a quantum leap. 

The Project was announced on the occasion of 56th independence day of India by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission is aimed at high-resolution remote sensing of the moon in visible, near infrared(NIR), low energy X-rays and high-energy X-ray regions. Specifically the objectives is to prepare a three-dimensional atlas (with a high spatial and altitude resolution of 5-10m) of both near and far side of the moon.

Its objective is also to conduct chemical and mineralogical mapping of the entire lunar surface for distribution of elements such as Magnesium, Aluminum, Silicon, Calcium, Iron and Titanium with a spatial resolution of about 25 km and high atomic number elements such as Radon, Uranium & Thorium with a spatial resolution of about 20 km.

It is hoped that simultaneous photo geological and chemical mapping will enable identification of different geological units, which will test the early evolutionary history of the moon and help in determining the nature and stratigraphy of the lunar crust.

India has seen numerous successes in the recent past with its space programs. On 28th April this year, India created history by launching ten satellites in one go, carrying a payload of 824 kg. India’s first fully commercial launch came on 23rd April when the Italian astronomical satellite, AGILE, was sent into space. On January 10th 2007, India launched the PSLV C-7 vehicle, injecting four satellites into orbit.

A partial chronology of ISRO

1963 - The first sounding rocket was launched Nov. 21 from TERLS.

1965 -Space Science & Technology Center (SSTC) was established in Thumba, Trivandrum.

1967 - Satellite Telecommunication Earth Station was erected at Ahmedabad.

1969 - Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was created on August 15 in the Department of Atomic Energy. Since then, ISRO has managed India's space research and the uses of space for peaceful purposes.

1972 - The government established the Space Commission and the Department of Space (DOS) in June. DOS conducts the nation's space activities for ISRO at four space Centers across the country. DOS reports directly to the Prime Minister.

1972 - ISRO placed under DOS on June 1.

1975 - ISRO made a Government Org. on April 1.

1975 - Aryabhata, the first Indian space satellite, was launched for India on April 19.

1979 - Bhaskara-I, an experimental satellite for earth observations, launched on June 7.

1979 - The first experimental launch of an SLV-3 rocket on August 10 did not place its Rohini Technology Payload satellite in orbit.

1980 - India successfully launched its own Rohini-1 satellite on July 18 on a Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV) rocket from the Sriharikota Island launch site.

1983 - The Rohini-3 communications satellite, launched in August, had by the end of 1985 extended nationwide television coverage from 20 percent to 70 percent of the population. Today it is about 90 percent.

1984 - The first Indian cosmonaut, Squadron Leader Rakesh Sharma became the 138th man in space when he spent eight days aboard the USSR's space station Salyut 7.

1992 - The Indian-built INSAT-2 geostationary communications and meteorological satellite superseded an American-built INSAT-1.

1993 - The even larger Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) debuted in September, but failed to attain orbit. Its individual elements were successful. PSLV can lift a one-ton satellite to a Sun-synchronous polar orbit.

2001 -- The first launch of a still larger Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) rocket was successful on April 18.

2002- On 2nd September 1st MET Satellite was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Center at Srihorikota. It keeps continuous watch on weather through its high resolution Radiometer.

2003-The multipurpose, INSAT-3A was launched from   France on 10th April. A communication satellite weighing 1800 Kg was launched aboard the GSLV-D2 from Sriharikota on 8th May.

Kalam tells students not to fear about future

Kohima, December 27 2008: FORMER PRESIDENT of India, APJ Abdul Kalam today asserted that no youth should fear about their future as the ignited mind of the youth is the most powerful resource.

He said that 'if we have aim in life and work hard with confidence' and has the confidence to defeat the problem then success is surely at hand".

Speaking as the chief guest at the 16th National Children's Science Congress at Dimapur today, Dr.

Kalam exhorted the children to have vision in life and work hard and also shared the story of three eminent scientists from India who struggled hard and achieved their goals thereby putting India on the scientific world map.

Touching on the theme of the programme 'Planet Earth � Our home : Explore, Share & Care', Dr Kalam urged the children to plant more trees so as to have a sound environment in their future days.

He also hoped that the National Childrens' Science Congress will be a forum to ignite the minds of the young children as far as scientific temperament is concerned.

Dr Kalam, later on, interacted with the child scientists and other participants.

Responding to a question posed by a student as how the country should respond if it is attacked by nuclear weapons, India's missile man asked the students not to worry about the country's capability to face with such an eventuality and suggested the students to concentrate on studies.

Replying to another question on terrorism, Dr.

Kalam said "In my opinion the terrorism is now a global problem, so a UN mechanism should be set up to deal with this challenge, but at the same time the country should also adopt proper strategy to face this problem".

He also expressed hope that the Science Congress would be a launching pad for the students to grapple with the environmental problems facing by the planet earth.

He pointed out that the young people coming from different parts of the country can learn a lot from Nagaland where the environment and nature has been protected by the Naga warriors with their wisdom.

Secretary, DST, Govt.

of India, Dr.T.Ramasami said that science and technology holds the key for global economy and we have a large number of talented people in the country.

He said that to ignite the young minds, the Govt.

of India has introduced a number of schemes and scholarships so that those children who are interested in the field of science can avail the opportunities.

President, NCSTC-Network, Prof Yash Pal expressed happiness over the huge turnout of children for the programme and hoped that more children will participate in the future.

He said that children should be encouraged to engage themselves on the projects on environment and also learn to communicate and cultivate true spirit of scientific temper through discipline.

He said that children should not imprison themselves with different subjects in Schools but connect with the land, the people and other humanitarian subjects.

He further exhorted the children to go forward to the future and not to go back to the past.

Welcome address was given by Honorary Director, NIHESW, Dr Inakhe Sumi.

Vote of thanks was delivered by State Co-ordinator NCSC Nagaland & Co-convenor cum Co-org Secy, 16th NCSC, Andrew Ahoto Sema.

Taxi breaches Kalam’s convoy

KOLKATA: Even as the city police remained on a high security alert, a scare was created on Saturday when a taxi got into the convoy of the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who was on his way to the airport. The taxi driver was taken into police custody and will be produced in court.

Amid attempts by a section of the police to feign ignorance about the incident, IG (Headquarters) B. Basu told The Hindu “a taxi had got into the convoy of the ex-President.” The former President was here to inaugurate a Science Fair organised to mark the 150th birth anniversary of pioneer scientist Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose.

Officials at the Lake Police Station where the taxi driver is being interrogated said 20-year-old Dular Yadav said he had strayed into the convoy while trying to overtake a vehicle, which he did not recognise as a police vehicle. The vehicle was carrying plainclothes policemen.

The incident happened when the convoy was close to the Netaji Subhas International Airport. The taxi, which was trying to speed off, was intercepted by the convoy’s pilot vehicle at a spot five km away from the airport. “We have taken him into police custody and are verifying his statements. He will be produced in the court,” a police official said.

Chandrayaan: How Ground Segment Receives Signals From Lunar Craft

Hyderabad, Dec 28, 2008: If sending Chandrayaan-1 into the lunar orbit is a Herculean task, deciphering the radio signals that are sent back to the earth from the spacecraft is equally challenging.

The radio signals, beamed back by Chandrayaan-1 to the master control room in Bengaluru 4,00,000 km away from it, become quite weak. ISRO scientists will have to adopt special methods to enhance the signals to decipher the message from the first-ever lunar orbitor sent by India.

"During the various phases of its flight, Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft will send detailed information about its health to Earth through its transmitter. At the same time, the spacecraft will be ready to receive radio commands sent from Chandrayaan-1 Spacecraft Control Centre instructing it to perform various tasks. Besides, the spacecraft receives, modifies and retransmits the radio waves sent by ground antennas in a precise way. This plays a crucial role in knowing its position and orbit at a particular instant of time. All these happen at 'S-band' frequencies in the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum.," according to an ISRO

As Chandrayaan-1 orbits the Moon, the spacecraft sends valuable imagery and other scientific information to Earth through X-band (at a higher frequency compared to S-band), which also lies in the microwave region But, such information is transmitted through radio at a very low power of a few watts. Thus, radio signals carrying that

precious information become extremely feeble by the time they travel 4,00,000 km from the Moon and reach ISRO's ground station in Bengaluru back on the earth.

The Ground Segment of Chandrayaan-1 performs the crucial task of receiving the radio signals sent by spacecraft.

It also transmits the radio commands to be sent to the spacecraft during different phases of its mission. Besides, it processes and safe keeps the scientific information sent by Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.

ISRO scientists are armed by a number of equipment to decode the message relayed back by Chandrayaan-1, howsoever weak they are. The ground segment of ISRO includes the Indian Deep Space Network, Spacecraft Control Centre and Indian Space Science Data Centre.

"Deep Space Network performs the important task of receiving the radio signals transmitted by Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft that become incredibly feeble by the time they reach the earth. Besides, it can send commands to the spacecraft at a power level of up to 20 kilowatts," the Chandrayaan pre-launch communiqué said.

IDSN consists of two large parabolic antennas, one with 18 m and the other 32 m diameter at Byalalu, in the outskirts of Bengaluru. Of these, the 32 m antenna with its 'seven mirror beam wave guide system' is indigenously developed. The 18 m antenna can support Chandrayaan-1 mission, but the 32 m antenna can support

Chandrayaan-1 and any spacecraft mission further deep into space.

During the initial phase of the mission, besides these two antennas, other ground stations in Lucknow, Sriharikota, Thiruvananthapuram, Port Blair, Mauritius, Brunei, Biak (Indonesia) and Bearslake (Russia) as well as external network stations at Goldstone, Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland, Hawaii (all three in USA), Brazil and Russia support the mission.

The Spacecraft Control Centre, located near ISTRAC campus at Peenya, North of Bengaluru, is the focal point of all the operational activities of Chandrayaan-1 during all the phases of the mission. Commands to be transmitted to Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft to maintain its health as well as to make it perform various tasks originate from here.

Experts specialising in various spacecraft subsystems as well as spacecraft mission operations personnel are stationed at SCC.

Kalam keen to help set up science park at Kharghar

MUMBAI: Former President APJ Abdul Kalam, who will soon share his expertise for the development of a science park at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai, has insisted that the project, once completed, should be an "igniting and everlasting'' experience that would impress the minds of the country's new generation. 

Cidco managing director G S Gill, along with senior planner Ramesh Dengle, called on Kalam at his New Delhi residence to apprise him of the project's outline. 

"It is an honour for the Cidco and the entire region to have a science park there. Kalam has responded positively to our request to act as the project's patron,'' said Cidco spokesperson Mohan Ninave. 

The project, which is being developed over 20 acres of land along a plateau in Kharghar, will include a golf course, a film and fun city and nature parks. Since the park is mainly meant for the youngsters, Cidco decided to include them in the planning. Through an essay competition, the agency invited suggestions from schoolstudents in Navi Mumbai on how the park should be developed. "We informed Kalam about the children's opinion and he advised us accordingly,'' Ninave said. The project will cost around Rs 80 crore. 

Besides asking the Cidco team to study the science parks in Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, Kalam has also given a rough idea of what needs to be done to attract the younger generation.

Kalam asks students to take up tree plantation

Dimapur , Dec 27 Insisting on linking science to human activities, former President, A P J Abdul Kalam today called upon the students to take up tree plantation on a mission mode to create billion trees in the country.

Addressing students at the 16th National Childrens' Science Congress, here Kalam administered an oath for the students to plant at least five trees in a year.

Responding to a question posed by a student as how the country should respond if it is attacked by nuclear weapons, India&aposs missile man asked the students not to worry about the country&aposs&aposcapability to face with such an eventuality and suggested the students to concentrate on studies.

Replying to another question on terrorism, Kalam said,"In my opinion terrorism is now a global problem, so a UN mechanism should be set up to deal with this challenge, but at the same time the country should also adopt proper strategy to face this problem".

India’s future great minds in Nagaland

Dr. AJP Abdul Kalam, former President of India makes a point addressing science student on the opening day of the 16th National Children’s Science Congress at Living Stone Higher Secondary School in Dimapur on Saturday, December 27. The National Children’s Science Congress, a programme of the NCSTC Network is a nationwide activity since 1993, for five days of December every year and organized by NCSTC Network. The network is made up of 76 government and non-government organizations. The 16th National Children’s Science Congress witnessed the participation of around six hundred child scientists and delegates from India. This year, the focal theme of the event is ‘Planet Earth-Our Home: Explore, Share and Care’. (Photo/Deepak Sharma)
Dimapur| December 27 : Committed to its theme “Planet Earth, Our Home, Explore, Share and Care,” the 16th National Children Science Congress (NCSC) took off today with tree plantation at Livingstone Higher Secondary School in Dimapur. Thirty four participating states including eight officials from the Government of Nagaland planted saplings to keep alive this year’s theme. 
The evening session was graced by eminent scientist and former President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam who was received here with great enthusiasm and affection by a hysteric crowd of child scientists from across India. Against the spectrum of colorful welcome given to the former President, Kalam said Nagaland is the right platform to discuss the future of innovation of a beautiful environment. He appreciated the vibrant beauty of the state and said the 16th ICSC theme could not have been more appropriate than in a place like Nagaland. “Innovation is enabled by beautiful environment and there couldn’t be a better place to discuss a bright future than the pristine Nagaland,” Dr. Kalam said.  
He expressed hope that the science congress would be a launching pad for the students to grapple with the environmental problems being faced by planet Earth. He pointed out that young people coming from different parts of the country can learn a lot from Nagaland where the environment and nature has been protected by the Naga warriors with their wisdom.
Profound words of encouragement from Dr. Kalam urged child scientists to work hard to defeat problems and with a righteous heart, to succeed in their mission. “It does not matter who I am as long as I am armed with a goal,” he pledged together with the children and encouraged them to work hard and garner more knowledge.  
Dr. Kalam in his very eloquent speech enlightened the child scientists, with success stories of award winning noble laureates, who through their perseverance and hard work have revolutionized the world with their works. Envisaging “Vision 2020” for India, Dr. Kalam also said India must look ahead for a bright future. He said economic progress will bring down societal differences and peace will eventually usher in. “Economic progress and peace go hand in hand,” he said while answering a question posed by a child scientist at the programme. Taking more queries from children, Dr. Kalam pointed out that India’s 4 million unemployed people will in the course of time be employed as India’s potential grows. He also vigorously encouraged a young aspiring politician to entertain “development politics and not political politics.” 

‘Terrorism is of evil minds’

On the volatile political situation in India and across the world, the former President also said terrorism is the collective work of evil minds and the good minds must overcome it. Replying to a host of questions from child scientists at the inaugural function Dr. Kalam said perpetrators of terrorism must be punished. He dismissed the apprehension of children over nuclear attacks and such. He said India is well-equipped to take care of its people and that her strength is better than any other nation. “You concentrate on your studies…we are here to take care of the rest,” he said heartily.
Dr. Kalam and a host of dignitaries were later entertained by cultural presentations organized by North East Zone Cultural Centre (NEZCC). Dr. Kalam will also be interacting with child scientist at Delhi Public School on December 28. 
Also addressing the event, Secretary, DST, Government of India, Dr.T Ramasami said science and technology holds the key for global economy and to ignite the young minds, the Government of India has introduced a number of schemes and scholarships. This way, he said, children who are interested in the field of science can avail of the opportunities.
President of NCSTC-Network, Prof Yash Pal expressed happiness at the huge turnout of children for the programme and hoped that more children will participate in the future. He said children should be encouraged to engage themselves in projects of environment and also learn to communicate and cultivate  true scientific temper through discipline. Prof. Pal also said children should not imprison themselves with different subjects in schools but connect with the land, the people and humanitarian subjects. He further exhorted the children to step forward into the future and not to retract to the past.

வெள்ளி, டிசம்பர் 26, 2008

Chandrayaan reveals changes in rock composition on Moon

BANGALORE: Chandrayaan-1 India's first Moon mission has confirmed the presence of iron in the lunar soil and, for the first time, revealed changes in rock and mineral composition. The sighting of the mineral is the first in the past five years and only the second in 10 years following a US mission in 1998-99 and European mission in 2003. 

"Obviously many missions before have found iron, but Chandrayaan-1 has reiterated the presence. We believe it is very significant because the mission has already fulfilled one of its objectives, which was to sight minerals. More is to come and it should be exciting if we can confirm the presence of uranium and other minerals,'' said an ISRO official. 

Within two months of its launch, Chandrayaan-1 has found iron on the moon through a Nasa instrument, moon mineralogy mapper (M3). 

M3 principal investigator and NASA scientist Carle Pieters also confirmed the instrument's finding. Speaking on behalf of Nasa, Pieters said: "The mapper spectrometer has beamed images of the Orientale Basin region of the moon, indicating abundance of iron-bearing minerals such as pyroxene. Using different wavelengths of light, the instrument has also revealed, for the first time, changes in rock and mineral composition.'' 

Isro officials said M3 would help in characterising and mapping lunar minerals to ultimately understand the moon's early geological evolution. "The compositional map that will come out of M3 will have fantastic data on geological formation of the moon,'' the official said. 

Researchers said the relative abundance of magnesium and iron in lunar rocks could help confirm whether the moon was covered by a molten, magma ocean early on in its history. Iron and magnesium will also indicate melting of the moon, if it happened and how it formed later. This metallic element has been found in lunar meteorites, but scientists know little about its distribution in the lunar crust. 

After Luna 24 returned samples of lunar soil to Earth in August 1976, no otherspacecraft went to the moon until January 1994, when the US sent the orbiter Clementine. Then, the US probe Lunar Prospector orbited the moon from January 1998 to July 1999. The craft mapped the concentrations of chemical elements in the moon and surveyed the moon's magnetic fields. 

Interestingly, Chandrayaan's findings come after the last probe in 2003 -- SMART-1 spacecraft launched by the European Space Agency in 2003, went into orbit around the moon in 2004. The craft's instruments were designed to investigate the moon's origin and conduct a detailed survey of the chemical elements on the lunar surface. 


Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) is the first instrument to provide highly uniform imaging of the lunar surface. M3 provides scientists their first opportunity to examine lunar mineralogy at high spatial and spectral resolution. The Orientale Basin of moon, mapped by the Nasa instrument, is located on its western limb. Along with the length and width dimensions across a typical image, the instrument analyzes a third dimension — colour. The image showing blue to red tones reveal changes in rock and mineral composition, and the green colour is an indication of the abundance of iron-bearing minerals such as pyroxene. The image strip on the right is from a single wavelength of light that contains thermal emission, providing a new level of detail on the form and structure of the region's surface.


National Children Science: Are We Even Ready?

Dimapur, December 26 (MExN): As the curtain rises on the 16th National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC), Nagaland is set be exposed to a spectrum of scientific excellence. With the primary attraction on child scientists from all corners of the country, ICSC will also see the participation of children from grass-root levels and presentations in local dialects. Interacting with media persons a day ahead of the inauguration, Dr. BK Pandey, scientist with the department of Information & Technology, New Delhi, Dr. AK Goswami, Network Chairman of NCSC, Dr. RN Rai, physicist, and organizers of the NCSC highlighted the importance of the programme and the seriousness with which the state government must now accept and foster them. 
With so much scientific knowledge and research going into producing the projects to be showcased at the event, the state government has a lot to learn from it. However, it is lamented that the state’s response is slow; apparent from the go-ahead only last month. The support of the state government is essential, Dr. Goswami said, and suggested there should be allocation of a budget for science and technological research in the annual state budget. He also said that the government should supplement what the organizers are unable to meet. With the governor of Nagaland as Chief Patron, the chief minister as Patron and a host of top state-level bureaucrats included in the programme, this should be an opportunity for the state to learn and prioritize solutions to local problems, a media analyst said. 
The Nagaland Institute of Health, Environment & Social Welfare (NIHESW) has tried intervention programmes on science and technology in schools but the response has been very poor especially from government schools. It is also apparent that the state government is weak, in the field of science and technology, an officer pointed out. However, it is hoped that the 16th NCSC will be a booster and eye-opener for the government and the people in general. NCSC is considered a revolutionary programme which has gone into finding solutions to local area problems basing on the response of local people. But how far the NCSC will attract the people of Nagaland will only be known during the course of the event and after. 
Meanwhile, the 16th NCSC which will be inaugurated by former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam on December 27, will see quality projects from children between ages 10 to 17. There will also be an interactive session with DR. Kalam on December 28 at Delhi Public School.

Come, all ye science teachers!  

On a right platform provided at the  16th National Children Science Congress for children and resource persons in the guise of science teachers’ workshop, the following persons will demonstrate in a workshop the reality of earth science – Samar Bagchi, former director of Birla Industrial & Technological Museum, Dr. Sudip Mitra, disaster management specialist, Dr. Sultan Ismail, Life Scientist, Dr. Janaki Rajan, Education Scientist, Dr. Dinesh Goswami, Physicist, RRL Horhat, Professor Khiradhar Baruah, Chemistry Science Communicator and Nripen Saikia, Low cost teaching aid specialist. Teachers have been specially invited to take part in the opportunity in the workshop from December 27 to 9 at Delhi Public School, Dimapur.  Meanwhile, with the theme “Planet Earth, Our Home, Explore, Share and Care,” the National Children Science & Technology- Network, Government of Nagaland and Nagaland Institute of Health and Science are sending out the message to all citizens to “save ourselves from destroying the earth”. 

Be Indian for India berth right-A NEW POST ABOUT SUNITHA WILLIAMS

They are proud to play for India but not proud enough to be Indian. That is the basic premise on which the government's policy should be examined. Whether the IOA wants to adhere to international federation rules or not is bunkum. The plain fact is that the national federations, and this is especially true for tennis, have been taking the escape route of importing talent for they have abysmal systems in place to groom our own.

The AITA has a tragic track record in running 'academies'. The much-hyped National Tennis Academy (NTA) in the boondocks beyond Gurgaon has a state-of-the-art textile factory of Indian tennis' ruling family - the Khannas - hulking over it but decidedly primitive training facilities. So much so that our best players have regularly refused to turn up to practice at the place which was billed as the breeding ground for future champions. In the past either sponsors gave up in disgust - like the Hinduja academy situated in Delhi - or largesse was distributed to the influential in the form of grants for five zonal tennis centres which proved to be just as much of a farce as the NTA is now.

The present issue of denying players minus Indian passports the opportunity to represent the country has met with widespread support within the tennis community. Not because Prakash Amritraj, Shikha Uberoi and Sunitha Rao are not considered our own but rather because there is an overwhelming feeling that these players come back to represent India as they are nowhere near getting a chance to play for the United States.

The issue of them not being eligible for government grants is anyway not much of a factor in tennis given the clandestine way in which they are handled by the AITA. Other pertinent bit that rears rampant is as to whether the government would have done any such thing if Amritraj would have been a Leander Paes or Mahesh Bhupathi. At the same time, glorifying and claiming as our own foreign citizens like Sunitha Williams and V.S. Naipaul send out confusing signals in light of the new policy. We are willing to celebrate the famous as our own but not the fringe players?

As to just how the government intends to justify the present stand vis-a-vis plans of providing dual citizenship is of course a puzzle that will only unravel when policy for the same is unveiled. The other pertinent ask is as to just why these players have been cleared in the past for events as prestigious as the Olympics and the Asian Games. Ministry babus only seem to wake up to issues when they are forced to confront them through judicial activism instead of using plain common sense.

water powers thse rockets.

 The heart of Mumbai recently turned into a mini rocket launch site between 1 pm and 2pm on 26 Dec 2008
The  venue was the green slopes of the Discovery of India building opposite Nehru Planetarium at Worli, where both ISRO and the planetarium did a trial run of a water rocket competition to be held for the first time in Mumbai next month. 

However, the two rockets that were "launched successfully'' were not assembled in a bigaerospace workshop, but in the office of Piyush Pandey, the planetarium's director. 

ISRO official B R Guruprasad said it was a simple device made of two pressurised soft drink bottles, thick plastic sheets, scotch tapes and various stationery items. "It takes about 90 minutes to make a water rocket,'' he said, adding that the cost of making a rocket was less than Rs 100. 

Each rocket was filled with water, which was pressurised using a pump. For a moment, the small group of spectators was as anxious as it would have been at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota before a rocket launch. Guruprasad began the countdown: "5-4-3-2-1 and now!'' 

The first rocket achieved an altitude of 50 ft and covered a distance of 100 ft in a parabolic path. During the third attempt, the rocket flew 300 ft at a height of 50 ft. 

ISRO chief spokesperson S Satish said the event would encourage people to pursue a career in space sciences.

வியாழன், டிசம்பர் 25, 2008


Prime Minister Nehru responds to the greetings of inmates of the Sindri Township, which he visited . President Dr. Rajendra Prasad is seen walking behind the Prime Minister.

Mr. C. Rajagopalachari with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel immediately after his arrival in Delhi airport.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru paid his first visit to the National Physical Laboratories, New Delhi on October 14, 1950 and inspected its various equipment, evincing keen interest in their working. The Prime Minister is seen watching mediatively the instrument which explains " diffraction effect of sound".

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was among a big crowd of children when he visited and opened a Bal Mela ( Childrens fair ) arranged in connection with anniversary celebrations of Delhi State Balkan Ji Bari in November 1950 in Delhi. Nehru is seen garlanding a girl for her fine performance on the stage.

NASA instrument on Chandrayaan finds minerals on moon

Bangalore (IANS): The moon mineralogy mapper (M3), a scientific instrument of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) onboard India's first lunar mission Chandrayaan-1, found iron-bearing minerals on the lunar surface, the US space agency said on Thursday.

"The mapper spectrometer has beamed images of the Orientale Basin region of the moon, indicating abundance of iron-bearing minerals such as pyroxene. Using different wavelengths of light, the instrument has also revealed for the first time changes in rock and mineral composition," M3 principal investigator Carle Pieters said in a statement hosted on NASA Website.

Data from the 7-kg mapper provides space scientists first opportunity to examine lunar mineralogy at high spatial and spectral resolution.

The Orientale Basin is located on the moon's western limb. M3 captured the data last week when Chandrayaan was orbiting the moon at an altitude of 100 km.

"The imaging spectrometer provides us with compositional information across the moon that we have never had access to before. Our ability to identify and map the composition of the surface in geologic context provides a new level of detail needed to explore and understand the earth's nearest celestial neighbour," affirmed Pieters, who teaches at Brown University in Rhode Island.

The mapper was selected as a mission of opportunity through the NASA discovery programme. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory designed and built the instrument at Pasadena in California.

"M3 will also help in characterising and mapping lunar minerals for knowing the moon's early geological evolution. Its compositional maps will improve our understanding of the early evolution of a differentiated planetary body and provide a high-resolution assessment of lunar resources," Chandrayaan project director M. Annadurai averred.

M3 is one of the 10 instruments onboard the unmanned Chandrayaan, conducting experiments while the spacecraft orbits over the moon next two years.

Five instruments were indigenously built by the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), while the remaining six payloads are of foreign origin, including three from the European Space Agency, two from NASA and one from Bulgaria.

Chandrayaan was launched on October 22 onboard the 316-tonne polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV-C11) from ISRO's Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota spaceport, about 80 km north of Chennai.

After traversing 3,84,000 km through the deep space for 18 days, the spacecraft entered the lunar orbit on November 8 and its moon impact probe was lowered on the moon's surface on November 14.

Isro’s Antrix commercial arm eyes major growth

Bangalore: The commercial arm of India’s space agency Antrix Corp. Ltd is in talks to build three satellites for foreign firms and has at least four launch orders. It is also expecting domestic demand for communication transponders and satellite imagery to drive growth over the next few years.
 Launching pad: A 20 Dec photo of the Ariane rocket, carrying the W2M satellite, taking off. Martin / AFP
Launching pad: A 20 Dec photo of the Ariane rocket, carrying the W2M satellite, taking off. Martin / AFP
The Indian space research organisation, or Isro, built and managed the launch last week of W2M, a communication satellite of Eutelsat SA for $33 million (about Rs147 crore), and is building another satellite for Avanti Communications Group Plc.
Astrium, the satellite-making unit of European Aeronautic, Defence Space Co., or EADS, which subcontracted these satellites to Antrix, signed a pact in September to promote the polar satellite launch vehicle, or PSLV, its workhorse rocket for global customers.
“There is a huge unmet local demand for DTH and communication transponders,” said Madhavan Nair, chairman of Isro, in a phone interview.
Isro plans to increase communication transponder capacity to 500 from the existing 224 by 2012, on growing demand from direct-to-home satellite operators and very small aperture terminals or VSAT for business communication. It has 11 remote sensing satellites in orbit and plans nine more, including a few scientific satellites.
The demand for urban mapping in India and high-resolution images at nearly $7 per km, nearly half of that foreign satellite firms charge, is also adding revenue. “Nearly 60% of our revenue comes from domestic customers,” Nair said.
India is still a fledgling player in the satellite manufacturing and launch industry, which is expected to grow to $145 billion to 2016, according to Paris-based research firm Euroconsult.
U. Sankar, professor at the Madras School of Economics, who did a cost-benefit analysis of the space agency in 2006, said the cost of launching a satellite on PSLV was one-third lower than foreign launchers. It is due to the high degree of indigenisation and lower cost of labour, he said.
An analyst says the global satellite and launcher market has entry barriers for India, despite lower costs and capability, due to the limited number of players and launches of satellites a year.
“However, to covert all of them into market opportunities is tough. Europe, America, Russia and China, every one will protect their interests,” said Y.S. Rajan, principal adviser on the space industry for the Confederation of Indian Industry.
According to Rajan, Indian space industry will benefit from down stream activities of space such as receivers, ground support services, satellite imagery and processing, which is expected to double to Rs12,000 crore in five years.

புதன், டிசம்பர் 24, 2008

How to prepare for meetings

If there is one activity that unites professionals from different occupations all over the world, it is meetings. Executives, managers, or software developers -- they all spend a large part of their working hours closeted in conference rooms discussing issues, significant and insignificant.

But the truth about meetings is they are largely a waste of time if not organised well or not planned in advance. Here are some tips to help you get the best out of these congregations.
Time and venue 
The initiator of the meeting must take up the task of sending out meeting requests to all parties who are required to attend, specifying the date, time and venue. If the meeting is a teleconference or a videoconference with participants from multiple locations, it is essential that the meeting request contain the date and time of the various time zones.
This is a common mistake, as a colleague in Tokyo found out when she forgot to specify the time zone in her e-mail, which meant that disparate groups of people were waiting for her to teleconference them at different times of the day!
The initiator must ensure a discussion room or conference room large enough to hold the requisite number of attendees is booked for the scheduled time.
It is also up to the initiator to arrange for any materials such as a projector, computer, slides, handouts, or even just a whiteboard and markers. A manager at a telecommunications firm narrates how a meeting he was invited to was delayed by 45 minutes because the computer and projectors were not set up, leading to senior managers walking out and requesting a reschedule.

If you are invited to a meeting for which handouts are distributed, make sure you read those notes before attending. It will keep you in tune with the discussions once you are part of the meeting, and will demonstrate your preparedness with ideas and thoughts on the topic at hand.
Once the time and venue of the meeting is fixed, it is vital that the initiator of the meeting decide the points on the agenda. Each of these points must be covered in detail and decisions taken on them before the meeting wraps up.

Preferably, these points can even be enumerated in brief on the whiteboard in the room, allowing everyone to be aware of the agenda and helping the initiator keep an eye on it at all times.
Minutes of the meeting 
In the duration of the meeting, several points and ideas will be thrown up which, if not documented, will evaporate into thin air well before the end. It will be impossible for anyone to retain all the discussed points in memory. Therefore, it is best for the initiator or the meeting-in-charge to appoint one person to jot down notes during the meeting. It is better still if two or three people take notes just in case one misses out something important.
At the culmination of the meeting, it is the duty of the person assigned to note down the minutes to create a document and circulate it amongst all attendees. Such a document typically contains the date and time of the meeting, number and names of attendees, the agenda and, against each of the points on the agenda, the action items.
The focus on agenda 
Often, despite maintaining an agenda and adhering strictly to time and schedule on a few points, the discussion deteriorates into heated debates. At this point, it is the prerogative of the meeting-in-charge or the initiator to ensure an objective discussion. Also, if a member starts rambling for hours without any end in sight, he must be brought back on track. It should be made clear that although brainstorming is acceptable, digression into irrelevant territory is entirely unwelcome.
When all points on the agenda have been discussed to the satisfaction of all parties, the person writing the minutes or even the initiator can wrap up by briefly reading out the salient points of all that has been discussed, including action to be taken once people return to their work. The minutes of the meeting is a good starting point to follow up with team members in the following days if necessary action has been taken, as discussed.