They were joint winners in the Asian final with a Pakistan school
The ultimate dream for any school student would be to make
it to Nasa (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) in the US. And win a
competition there. Students of Bishop Cotton Boys School, Bangalore did precisely
that - win the international prize for designing a settlement on Mars. They were
joint winners in the Asian final with a Pakistan school.
Bishop Cotton, along with three other schools - from USA, Romania and UK - all of
whom were part of `one company' that designed the settlement of Mars, was declared
international winners of the space settlement design competition for 2011 organized
by Nasa on July 30, 31 and August 1 at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, USA.
Anil Agarwal, one of the Bishop Cotton team members, said: "We designed a settlement
on Mars that had all the requirements for a human being to live there. From water
to energy to food to agriculture to air and atmosphere, the space settlement met
all standards prescribed by Nasa scientists."
Agarwal and friends did a lot of research on space before getting into the competition.
"We did extensive reading on everything about space, how space is different from
earth and what was needed for humans to live in space and on other planets like
Mars," Agarwal said.
Bishop Cotton first won the national round designing a settlement in an asteroid.
Then at the Asian level, three schools competed in the final, Bishop Cotton, a Kolkata
school and a Pakistan school. Of the three, Bishop Cotton and the Pakistan school
made it to the international final.
"It was an amazing experience to work with students from Pakistan. As people and
human beings, we are just not different. We got along very well with them and they
were very friendly. We realized it's only politics that makes us seem different,"
Once both teams made it to Houston, Bishop Cotton and the Pakistan school were not
part of the same group. Different schools were to join together and form a company
and then each company would design a space settlement. While Bishop Cotton team
won the finals, the Pakistan school was runners-up.
Agarwal said the final also had questions from Nasa scientists. "We were able to
handle all questions, thanks to our research. Among our team, there were different
ideas on how we should design the settlement. We had to come to a consensus on the
specifics which we did after discussion. Once we had agreed upon the model, we set
upon completing our work," said Agarwal.
AT A GLANCE
- Bishop Cotton Boys School had been participating in the competition earlier, but
this is the first time they have won the international finals.
Students were given 36 hours to complete their design.
They were accompanied by two teachers and the school principal.
- The students were given a trophy and a certificate from Nasa.
Courtesy: Times of India