I feel privileged to be part of the program today organized by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation to launch 100 Femto satellites in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu.
These tiny satellites weigh around 14 to 50 grams and were launched using balloons to study various elements in the atmosphere and its impact on seeds and other materials sent. The satellites were assembled by students of government and private schools around the country. The technology for the program was made possible by Space Zone India. About four records were made in the day and are due to be recognized by Asia Book of Records and World Book of Records, London including for the lightest Femto satellite.
The satellites were launched by Hon’ble Governor of Telangana Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan through video.
In the event Hon’ble Chief Minister of Puducherry Mr V Narayanasamy delivered a guest address, he was joined by Padma Shri Dr Mylswamy Annadurai (The Moon Man of India), Dr Sultan Ahmed Ismail (Soil Biologist) and earlier by Dr K Sivan (Chairman ISRO) and Capt VR Iyer (Commanding Officer Naval Air Station). Hon’ble CM of Puducherry impressed the audience with his grasp of the subject, his association with Dr Kalam, recalled the day when Indian cabinet of ministers approved the Mars Mission, Dr Kalam visiting the Kodankulam Nuclear Plant site to reach out to the residents.
Thank you, Hon’ble Governor and Hon’ble CM for taking the time to join the event virtually.
Being part of the organizing committee, I was invited to give a virtual talk to the students for a few minutes on the importance of revisiting scientific ideas and seeing how they can be adapted for today’s requirements. For example, recently, The Verge magazine had published a video on wild Mushrooms from a forest being used to make strong bricks, thanks to the Mycelium fungi network – I had heard about Mycelium earlier in the science-fiction TV show Star Trek Discovery, but to see it being used to make environmentally friendly bricks was fascinating. I added about AI/ML being used to study the 1 million data points that came out of the trials for the Pfizer mRNA vaccine for COVID; A lot of Indians had worked on the project, including Malaikannan Sankarasubbu and his team.
I was impressed by how easy and ubiquitous video calls have become during the pandemic. Today’s event was a seamless mix of both onstage and virtual speakers.