Kathmandu, January 13
“What is the condition of pollution you see from space?” and “What do you want to say to little students like us? Something inspirational or some quotes?” are the two questions eighth grader Rozway Regmi of Naxal-based Brihaspati Vidhyasadan High School has prepared to ask to an astronaut in the International Space Station).
“Is there anything new happening in space?” This is another question from a BVS ninth grader Akitaka Sakiyama.
These are around two dozen questions that students of BVS and other schools have prepared to ask British astronaut Timothy Peake in the ISS on January 20 at 2:22pm.
Students from BVS and seven other schools such as Little Angels’ School, Whitefield Higher Secondary School, NK Singh Memorial EPS Secondary School, Learning Realm International School, Bagmati Boarding Higher Secondary School and others will be asking these questions to astronaut Peake in ISS.
The students were screened on the basis of their proposed questions.
According to Pravin Raj Joshi, director, BVS, the students will talk for around 45 minutes to an hour with British astronaut Peake, starting from 2:22 pm on January 20 through amateur radio.
He said, “It took us 300 days to get permission from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the US for communication between Nepali students and the astronaut on board the ISS.”
He stated that they needed an antenna which costs them around Rs 1 million to directly link to the ISS.
As it was very costly, the school was going to connect to NASA first at 1:40pm on the same day which would then connect to an amateur radio station run by an expert in Australia to connect to the astronaut.
“We will start connecting to NASA from 1:40pm on January 20 to connect to the astronaut via an amateur radio station in Australia,” he said, adding, “Other students in the school will also be privileges to listen to the communication between students and the astronaut as it will be aired to others through speakers. We are also planning to air the talk live through youtube.”
He claimed that this was the first experience in Nepal and most probably the first time in the South Asian region too.
“Such activities will help students learn about emergency communication through amateur radio as well as help them learn more about science as their curiosity will be roused,” he added.
At the same time, BVS is also organising ‘Exhibition cum Communication Programme’ from 19 to January 23 on the premises of the school every afternoon between 3:00pm to 5:00pm.
Joshi said that experts as well as knowledgeable students will be at hand to respond to queries of visiting students and any student can get acquainted with amateur radio during the exhibition.
The programme is supported by Think Ink, Clean Perspectives, Nepal Entrepreneurs’ Hub and Nepal Amateur Radio Operators’ Society.
A version of this article appears in print on January 14, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.