Lo and Behold, The BIG TIME IS HERE!! Counting down on our much-awaited experiment to be flown in space, is going to be an impulse to the young astronomers’ mind of many to come.
SPACE India in association with cubes in space have set new benchmarks on its road towards popularizing space sciences for Indian students and is inclined on its way to lay down the road for many other successes to follow. On the road to an outstanding effort initiated by SPACE India, the experiment has solely been hypothesized, sponsored, mentored under the guidance of Mr. Sachin Bahmba, CMD-SPACE, to a former SPACE student Mr. Aabhaas Sikka, a young budding astronomer of just 17 years, who has been an intern in SPACE, currently pursuing mechanical engineering from Pusa Polytechnic, New Delhi.
The experiment is selected under an international competition called “CUBES IN SPACE” organized by the US based company idoodledu Inc. in collaboration with NASA, which is the only platform for global competition offered for students of 11-18 years of age to design and propose experiments to launch into space or a near space environment. The two ways in which cubes in space send satellites are on a NASA sounding rocket and zero –pressure scientific balloon. The program encourages the students not only to use their imagination and critical thinking skills that not only sparks their scientific temperament and instills the joy of learning in them but also engage in creative problem-solving abilities.
The proposed experiment is fitted under a plastic cube of 4 cm X 4 cm X 4cm, weighing 64 grams and the design of the experiment is totally in consideration with the constraints imposed by Cubes In Space. In the honor of the great Indian scientist and Nobel laureate, C.V. Raman, we have named our first satellite to space as RamanSat.
Selection of our experiment is made on the grounds of its flight to an altitude of 116km, onboarding a NASA sounding rocket. The rockets’ flight duration will be around 15 minutes. The particular rocket is a two-staged Orion Terrior Rocket and is scheduled for launch on 20th of June 2019 (3:00 PM IST) from NASA, Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, USA. And that is the time we shall be looking up at the infinity of the sky above thinking of our small cube on its journey to making science more accessible for students.
The solitary motive of the experiment lies in the hypothesis: ‘If we send two radiation detectors at an altitude of 116 kilometers with one of them being lead shielded, then the detector exposed to the space environment will accumulate more amount of radiation as compared to the one enclosed in the lead’. Radiation detectors are special compact instruments that can measure the levels of radiation in their environment. It is so because lead is known to absorb or deflect gamma rays. The purpose of carrying out this experiment is to analyze the data of space radiation and shielding effect received which will help further strengthen the study of shielding techniques for future missions.
Radiation in space is a very crucial issue for any spacecraft mission, and much more in case of human flight missions. In spacecraft, radiation can interfere with electronics, give false readings and often short the circuit. In the case of living things, radiation can cause mutation of genes that lead to cancer and genetic diseases. Till date, no full proof solution to this problem has been found. With the help of our experiment, we hope to find the advantage of using lead coatings to shield our payload, which might lead to further insights into the area of radiation shielding and protection.
The cube contains precious and expensive TLD badges (dosimeters) to measure radiation. And they will be exposed to high energy radiation though for a short period of time. After the experiment is carried out, the dosimeters will be returned and analyzed in an isolated lab.
SPACE stands to create knowledge about space radiation environment through this experiment which in turn will benefit and create more such platforms to students associated with SPACE. We aim to put forward the results obtained from the experiment and hope to stimulate and influence more such young generation of students to become a part of the real environment. As we take the first step, we hope you will be looking up with the same zeal towards the sky, at launch time, imagining our little cube doing wonders.