NASA scientist's words take schoolkids to skies

Space explorations, planets in distant galaxies, the possibility of life somewhere in the vast expanse of universe were some of the things that left schoolkids spellbound and wanting for more, during a talk given by scientist and co-investigator for NASA’s Kepler Mission, Dr Natalia Batalha, in the City on Thursday.

Using graphic computer- generated illustrations and photographs from outer space, Natalia explained the basic premise of her talk, ‘Beyond the cradle, Kepler’s search for new worlds’ by describing the premier space agency’s efforts at trying to find planets like earth that supported life. “Our planet has a finite lifetime. We need to look beyond the cradle of life,” she said.

Natalia gave a meticulous account of the mission launched by NASA and the progress made by it so far in the field of space exploration.

According to Natalia, the space agency opened a new chapter in their search for earth-like planets in the universe with the launch of Kepler - an observatory spacecraft fitted with powerful cameras - in March 2009. Prior to Kepler, many planets were found that seemed to resemble the earth and solar system. However, with Kepler the chances of finding them increased manifold, she said.     

The talk, organised by NASA and Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum, was aimed at creating an interest in the field of astronomy and attracting students to the field. “We will know the size of these planets and even their habitable zones. However, we cannot say for sure whether they are habitable. That is the next step for you, the next generation,” she said.

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