Understanding NASA

Student Activities - Understanding NASA

Talk by Mr. Joydeep Mukherjee On December 14, 2011 to St. Xavier's Collegiate School
(Director, NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium and Interim Director, Florida Space Institute)

View more pictures in the picture gallery year 2011

On December 14, 2011, Mr. Joydeep Mukherjee, Director, NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium and Interim Director, Florida Space Institute came to St. Xavier's Collegiate School to talk to the students about the space shuttles that NASA had sent to space - their success and disasters. Dr. Mukherjee is a close friend of Mr. Mihir Nundy, a Xaverian, who has been kind enough to introduce Dr. Mukherjee to the students. Dr. Mukherjee also spoke of the detailed planning and technology involved during these ventures. His power point presentation included an interesting video clipping showing the sequence of events which occur during the launch of a space shuttle and the precautions that NASA takes to ensure safety for the astronauts.

He spoke to two batches of students- first to students of classes 9 and 11 and then to the wide-eyed eager students of classes 6, 7 and 8. This is the 3rd year in succession that Mr. Mukherjee has visited St. Xavier's and each year he has brought something new and exciting for the boys. Apart from space shuttles, he also talked about NASA's sophisticated Rover 'Curiosity', which was launched recently for a journey to Mars which sample Martian soil and rocks. His presentation was followed by an interactive session during which the students bombarded him with curious questions to each which he had a prompt and satisfying answer. A particular student asked him, "How does the orbiter take off from space on its journey back to earth if all its fuel is exhausted? Another student of class 6 asked, "How much damage does the external fuel tank cause to marine life when it falls into the Indian Ocean?" And yet another inquisitive student asked "Why are we always probing the surface of Mars? Why don't we dig inside?

Overall, the students found the programme very informative and in their words "awesome"! Such programmes instill into these young minds the love for science and a craving to know more. As Mr. Mukkherjee did not have time to answer all their questions, he has kindly agreed to interact with the students through email.

"We hope to continue such programmes in future so that our students benefit greatly in their choice of careers and in quenching their thirst for knowledge", stated Fr. K.K. Devasy, Principal of the school.

Ms. Sandhya Sinha

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