Dubai : The experiments of an eleven-year-old Indian student in the UAE would be launched into space under a NASA programme, a media report said.
Prerna Pai, a seventh grade student in Sharjah, has got two of her experiments approved for launch into space June 26 under NASA’s Cubes in Space (CIS) programme for budding young scientists, Gulf News reported on Friday.
Pai, an aspiring scientist, has been regularly participating in NASA student activities such as studying the solar flare last year. She also features in the space agency’s mailing list, the report said.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched its CIS programme in May in partnership with Rubik Learning Initiative, idoodle software and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium’s RockSat-C programme. CIS is an international educational programme for school children that teaches them how to design STEM experiments for launch into space and a total of 75 American students and 25 students from the rest of the world were selected for the current launch. STEM refers to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“I had to think a lot when I learned about this contest and sent them (NASA) many proposals. My science teacher has always encouraged me to think out of the box and that inspired me,” the report quoted Pai as saying.
Pai submitted two experiments that she called ‘To stick or not to stick’ and ‘time and pressure’.
The first experiment is about studying the manner in which different adhesives are likely to behave in space in the absence of atmospheric pressure, the report said.
The second experiment involves two tiny bottles — one made of plastic and the other of glass — sealed with a modelling clay cork and placed in a cube.
“Once my ideas were selected, NASA sent me a kit into which I had to place my experiments and mail it to them. I was so thrilled by the news that I even dashed off a thank you note to NASA,” Pai said.
After knowing the results of the experiment, Pai plans to research the subjects more thoroughly and send the findings back to NASA.
The programme invites students from around the world in the age group of 11-14 to devise experimental payloads for space. NASA would select 100 designs for launch into space via a sounding rocket at the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility June 26. A sounding or research rocket carries scientific instruments into space to take measurements along a non-orbiting and parabolic path (trajectory).