Many Indians often look up to other countries for groundbreaking inventions. But we don’t realize that India is equally good and takes even better stride towards pioneering inventions. From Jagadish Chandra Bose to CV Raman, India has displayed its excellence in the field of science numerous times. The recent success of the BITS Pilani, Goa students adds more feathers to India’s cap.
Victor Hess’s meticulous experiments that were conducted between 1911 and 1913 showed that the level of radiation declined up to an altitude of about one km. But above that, the level increased considerably and became twice of that at sea level at an altitude of five km. He concluded that there was radiation penetrating the atmosphere from outer space, which led to the discovery of cosmic rays. Ever since then, cosmic radiation has been a vast field of study, from its impact on spacecrafts to its effects on the human body.
Why the project
It has been proven that extended exposure to cosmic radiation leads to an increased risk of cancer and tissue damage. A thorough understanding of this radiation is essential to develop predictive and preventive mechanisms against their impact. To help the cause, the undergraduate students of BITS Pilani have developed a project called Apeiro. Under the project, the students have developed a micro-satellite, which aims to detect and measure cosmic radiation in the stratosphere.
Making India Proud
At 2:12 AM, February 2, 2018, Sanket Deshpande, Lucky Kapoor, Shivangi Kamat, Vibhav Joshi, and Pankaj Tiple of project Apeiro launched India’s first student-led micro-satellite. The micro satellite is aimed at detecting and measuring cosmic radiation in stratosphere, one of the layers of atmosphere surrounding the earth. The launching platform was none other than the balloon facility of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Hyderabad, one of the few institutes in the world capable of launching such a flight. The balloon and all the necessary flight equipments were developed entirely at this facility.
“This flight sets history by successfully completing the country’s first near-space experiment completely developed by students,” says an official statement.
What’s the project about
The experiment was based on the high altitude ballooning technique. The technique makes use of a zero-pressure plastic balloon, which lifts the experimental payload to the desired altitudes .The payload in this case consisted of cosmic radiation detector supported by an onboard high and low voltage power supply systems. It also comprised a combination of scintillator and photomultiplier tubes along with data acquisition systems. The satellite achieved a first float altitude at 24.8 km, while the second one was achieved at 26.7 km.
The achievements of these students who are not even graduates yet has proven the saying that age is just a number. On top of that, they built it entirely in India, using India’s paraphernalia. They are a beacon of hope to those Indians who aspire to make it big using solely India’s resources, without having to step a foot outside our nation.