City kid heads to zero-gravity

BANGALORE: It was the happiest day of his life for 18-year-old Sachin Kukke, as his proposed experiment was chosen from over 2,000 entries for experimentation on the  International Space

Published: 23rd February 2012 05:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:01 PM   |  A+A-

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Sachin Kukke poses after his science project was selected for experimentation | suresh nampoothiri

BANGALORE: It was the happiest day of his life for 18-year-old Sachin Kukke, as his proposed experiment was chosen from over 2,000 entries for experimentation on the  International Space Station(ISS), later this year.

Part of a global initiative by Google called ‘YouTube Space Lab’, Sachin’s proposal that thermal conductivity of ferrofluids in micro-gravity would be different than on earth was chosen alongwith five other proposals by students from countries like Egypt, New Zealand, Spain and United States.

The six regional finalists will now proceed to Washington DC in March and will undergo a zero-gravity flight along with a tour of Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum at Dulles followed by an awards ceremony, where two global winners will be chosen. They will also get to watch their experiment take off in a rocket bound for the ISS from Japan or undertake an astronaut training programme in Star City, Russia. “The aim of YouTube Space Lab was to generate a healthy interest in science in children in the age group of 14-18. Every child is fascinated by space. This shows that math and science matter,” said Zahaan Bharmal, head, marketing (operations), Europe.

The results for the competition which saw more than 40 per cent of the total entries of 2,000 come from Indian kids were announced in Bangalore on Wednesday. Speaking at the announcement Nikhil Rungta, country marketing head, Google India, said, “There were nine Indian experiments shortlisted in the top 60. This shows that kids in the country are fascinated with science.” The experiments were judged by an elite group of scientists including Sir Stephen Hawking and other NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) officials.

“My initial idea that I proposed to my faculty in college was not interesting enough. With two weeks to go before the submission deadline, I came across a Wiki page for Ferrofluids and just kept researching till I formed a hypothesis,” said Sachin. He added that this idea was entirely his own work. He is a student of Mechanical Engineering at the BMS College of Engineering.

The motivation to pursue his chosen field of space science, Sachin said, came from his elder brother who is studying Aerospace Engineering in France. “After I complete my degree, I shall also study the same,” said Sachin. His father is a Head Constable in the Karnataka State Police Force.

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