Press Trust of india

Chandrayaan-2: Had heard about Moon in grandma's stories, say kids after visiting ISRO station

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By Anil Bhatt

Jammu, Jul 14 :  For a brother-sister twin from Jammu, the Moon had always been about the stories they had heard from their grandmother: a friendly celestial body so far away that they could only imagine to reach there some day. Not anymore, they said.

Swapnil and Swapnila, both Class 10 students, this week visited the ISRO station in Andhra Pradesh and saw the massive rocket that will spark their lunar imagination into reality. There, they heard stories about the Moon again, but they would have surely missed the warmth of their grandma's storytelling.

"The launch was only in our imagination. We used to hear stories of Moon from our grandmother. When we actually saw it (the rocket), we were spell-bound. It was amazing," Swapnil told PTI. "It's a dream come true."

"It was so huge," Swapnila added, about the Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle Mk-III rocket which will launch the mission into space.

The students are among 110 children who are part of Chandrayaan-2 project. In Sriharikota, scientists explained the mission to them and they said they felt happy about it.

Eleven years after the success of its first lunar mission, the Indian Space Research Organisation is set for the launch of Chandrayaan-2 at 2.51 AM on Monday.

The mission will take 54 days to reach the moon's south pole. Billed as the most complex mission ever undertaken by ISRO, a successful Chandrayaan-2 will make India the fourth country to soft land on the lunar surface after Russia, the US and China.

"We saw the track through which the Chandrayaan-2 vehicle will be transported to the launch pad. We saw the launch control centre and the main control centre," Swapnila said.

ISRO has launched a programme for schoolchildren, called the 'Yuva Vigyani Karyakram' (YUVIKA), from this year in tune with the government's 'Jai Vigyan, Jai Anusandhan' vision.

Swapnil and Swapnila were selected after undergoing a series of tests of their academic, sports and extra-curricular records. At the age of 7, both had flown the Microlite Aircraft at Hindon Air Base as co-pilots.

The government is inculcating a "scientific zest among the youth" with such programmes for students, Swapnila said. "Best scientists and technocrats will come up now in the country". Shib Narayan Acharya, a photo officer in the Ministry of Defence, and Sarmistha Acharya are proud parents and said they are excited about their children visiting the ISRO station.

"The full family will see the live telecast of Chandrayaan-2 launch," said their mother.

Their father said the children had been invited by former president the late APJ Abdul Kalam, who had spent a few hours with them.

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