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Ayushi Agarwal

JWB Blogger

JWB Talks To ISRO Scientist And Gets Convinced That Girls Too Can Reach For The Stars

  • JWB Post
  •  April 14, 2016


13th April 2016: As the blazing hot sun warmed the JECRC University’s pavements, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation’s) outreach program & exhibition provided the people of Jaipur with a warm and welcoming environment. The massive building frizzled with a highly contagious sense of excitement and positive energy as students ardently indulged in cross-questioning and discussions everywhere.

While some of the students stared at the models brought in by ISRO with a mix of fascination and disbelief, some concentrated on attaining as much information as they could about those models. There was a zeal to learn something new about space, the satellites, the planets, the orbits, and what not.

The models brought in by ISRO were replicas of the original satellites and rockets launched into space by them. It was incredible to see how excruciatingly detailed they were, which made me realize the extent of mankind’s reach and power.

The exhibition commemorated the Father of India’s science program, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai as well.


In the center of the building, more rocket models along with their parts were being exhibited. There was a camera which could click a picture of another planet complete with all its craters while one of them could detect the level of methane in that planet’s environment. The sheer power of the knowledge amassed by humans over these years hits you square in the face. We have indeed reached the stars.

The world of ‘Space & Engineering’ is generally considered as a “Man’s realm.” You wouldn’t find a whole lot of women in this field. Even at the exhibition, I was surprised to see that almost all visitors were boys, and there were only a few girls trying to understand how the universe actually functions. It made me wonder: Was the stereotype still there? Do women hesitate to enter this field because of gender restrictions or simply out of fear? Do we still doubt our capabilities? 


Soon my mulling came to an end when I came across a working model of the Earth along with its satellites. The Earth was rotating on its axis while three satellites were rotating along with it. It was amazing how they could move without colliding with each other.


In all honesty, initially, I had no interest in attending the exhibition since I had never been interested in space or any of the science-y things. I had always envisioned that world to be complicated and difficult. But somehow, this exhibition captivated me beyond my imagination, and I found myself asking all sorts of (stupid) questions to the volunteers, who eagerly satiated my queries.

What gave my confidence a boost was the fact that I could understand everything! They explained me the technicalities in a general sense, without the usage of science-y jargon. Space is freaking interesting!

Then came along one of the scientists of ISRO, who was more than happy to converse with the students and indulge in a fun Q&A session.

Mr. Nareshbhai Bhatt is a mechanical engineer by profession,  who works in the Space Applications Center, Department of Space at ISRO. He is stationed at the ISRO Satellite Center at Ahmedabad since 1988, which is a unique center dealing with a wide variety of disciplines comprising design and development of payloads, societal applications, capacity building and space sciences.

In laymen’s terms, his department is concerned with the creation and quality assurance of the satellites which would subsequently get launched into space by the organization.


About his department

“My department has a total of 118 engineers which work towards the creation of satellites and assuring their quality. Quality Assurance is one of the most important tasks at ISRO because once the satellite gets launched in space, we cannot do anything about it. We cannot send men up there in space to repair a tiny mistake or replace something. Hence, we need to check each and everything before certifying that the satellite is fit to go into space.”

About his work

“As a mechanical engineer, I have to certify the environment within which the creation and quality checks of the satellite will be taking place. There CANNOT be even one microbe present on the surface of the satellite, which is why we have to carry out mathematical calculations long after the decimal has arrived. One wrong particle could lead to enormous devastation, after all!

The job requires so much concentration and precautions that even if I have just to take a part of the satellite, fix it on an axis and put it in a cabinet somewhere, it takes me close to 8 hours. There would be nearly 180 steps involved, which need to be followed in the same manner every time.”


Life at ISRO

“ISRO’s environment is so charged up with new ideas, new techniques, and innovations, that you end up getting lost in it. It enables a person to come up with something new and exciting every day!”

Women & space

“In our team, nearly 30% of the scientists are women. When I joined in 1988, there were even less! Not a lot of women pursued engineering at that time, but times are changing. If you have the required qualifications, you too can work at ISRO!”


“Every year I take a trip to the Himalayas and relax amidst the natural beauty. I am associated with the Youth Hostel Association of India (YHAI) too. The trips help me conserve energy for the entire year and helps me concentrate better on my work.

I also try to learn different musical instruments, which allows me to detach from the world for a while and refreshes my core. I have mastered the tabla and the sitar!”


Do aliens exist?

What do you think we are? We too are aliens! We are considered as aliens by all those people residing on other planets, who are just as curious as we are about space and its mysteries.

His take on life 

“Humans are meant to be born, and one day to return to the Mother Earth. The time which lies between these two phenomena is unknown and can be excruciatingly long, which is why humans have created the notions of education, career and relationships to pass that time peacefully.

They wish to keep themselves engaged in a job or profession so that they do not get bored and travel through time easily. Which is why I urge all students to pursue their careers in that field, which truly calls out to them, and which can help them pass this time in the best possible manner. Hence, it is important that you enjoy your work thoroughly so that each passing day doesn’t seem like an eternity.”


I sat there and watched Mr. Bhatt serenely, as he narrated stories revolving around Mars, satellites, and rockets, with so much enthusiasm and vigor. Fields like that of astrophysics and space engineering are not out of reach for anybody, girls. In today’s time, there is nothing as ‘a man’s world’, from which women should shy away. Be bold, be courageous, and believe that you too could take the world, or should I say: space, by storm.


With starry eyes and a yearning soul, I returned from JECRC and subsequently, came back down to Earth. I took one last look at the sky above me and tried to imagine the galaxies and planets that lay hidden somewhere far away from us.

Who knows, maybe someone is out there observing our little world under his microscope as well, trying his best to figure how human beings pass their time on planet Earth.

Today, i.e. 14th April is the last day of the exhibition, being held at the JECRC University.


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