Two young Indian astronomers, Amanjot Singh and Sahil Wadhwa who had created history by discovering asteroids, earlier in 2010 were felicitated for this feat by NASA’s very own Paul Rosen. The prominent scientist from NASA also expressed his interest for India-US collaboration on space research programmers. Paul Rosen, Project Scientist, NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), remarks “Collaborations must happen between India and US on such research programmes. NASA is seeking participation in their space outreach programmes from students across the globe.”
The asteroids discovered back in 2010 was part of an event called All India Asteroid Search Campaign (AIASC), which was conducted by New Delhi-based Science Popularisation Association of Communicators and Educators (SPACE) organization in collaboration with the International Astronomical Search Collaboration. Amanjot Singh and Sahil Wadhwa discovered the main belt asteroid numbered as 2010 PO24, now recognized by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in the US. SPACE has successfully managed to get in touch with more than 1 lakh families, besides being able to impart education to over 20,000 students annually.
Nearly 500 new rocks in space were discovered by students from across the country as a part of the asteroid search campaign. However, these asteroids tended to move away from their orbits. As because no solid confirmation could be drawn about them, they remained preliminary discoveries. However, the asteroids were named as provisional discovery once they remained in their orbits. In 2016, 37 asteroids were discovered (provisional discovery) worldwide, of which 27 were found by Indian students. “It started as an excuse for a night-out with friends, which very soon turned into passion. It is this passion which drove me towards success,” adds Amanjot Singh at the annual meet convened by SPACE.
Former SPACE achievers present at the annual event, stressed on the need for providing research platforms and opportunities to students across the country, so that they can excel in fields such as astronomy, science, and technology. In a developing country, such as India, dreaming about space and the field of astronomy is not an easy task. “The opportunity provided by SPACE led me to the field of astronomy, and fueled my curiosity to explore the unknown,” mentions Aryan Mishra. Back in 2014, the 17-year old astronomer, Aryan was credited to the discovery of an asteroid. Another 17-year old astronomer, Yashraj Bhardwaj along with his twin brother Yuvraj had bagged the Karamveer Cakra Award for their space endeavours. The duo already has seven patents to their names, besides 22 projects, both national and international. Bahmba informed. “Fruitful Indo-US ties can only sprung up from new technological advancements through researches done by amateurs and the scientific community within the two countries,” concludes Sachin Bahmba, Chairman and Managing Director, SPACE Group.