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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Built on gifted land, mini-Smithsonian Museum ready for launch in Kochi


By Anantha Krishnan M & Byju Aryad
Express News Service
Bangalore\Thirvananthapuram:  God’s Own Country will soon have a space science museum on a prime, ‘gifted’ piece of land. The phase-I of this yet-to-be-named facility will officially go live on December 17 at Pallikkara, near Kochi, which is at striking distance from Kerala’s popular water theme park Veega Land. The museum is jointly developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Dr Indira Rajan, a leading educationist in Kerala.
Former Indian President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam will formally launch the construction activities of museum by unveiling a massive model of PSLV, being brought from Bangalore. The 1,800-kilogram model will be up and ready for ‘launch’ when Dr Kalam makes a touchdown in Kochi – a day otherwise celebrated world over by aviation aficionados as Wright Brothers’ Day. It’s a sheer coincidence that the new museum is being launched on the same day, when the Wright Brother eventually gave wings to humanity, with their 12-second historic flight on December 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk.
Tipped as a mini version of the famous US-based Smithsonian Museum, once fully operational, only the Space Wing is currently being opened on Saturday from an already-existing structure. “It will be a comprehensive facility, which will capture the best of natural and physical science, space and defence. Our aim is to inspire students towards science streams,” ISRO former chairman Dr G Madhavan Nair told Express. “We are seeking the support of industries and corporates to make this a must-see facility in India. In the next few years, we are confident that the museum will eventually grow as a one-stop-place that showcases the growth and might of Indian aerospace and defence sectors,” Dr Nair said.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation have been entrusted to develop a wing to exhibit its products. “In phases we will have sections for atomic energy, industrial revolution and scientific research. We will also have sections showing live experiments and very natural scientific phenomenon,” Dr Nair, who has played a silent role in executing the project so far, said.
Dr Indira Rajan, head of Minerva Educational Institutions in Kerala and chairperson of the Resul Pookutty Foundation is the Chief Executive Director of the museum. Dr Indira donated prime land in Pallikkara for the museum, purely out of her passion towards science and technology. “I got the idea after visiting NASA and came back discussed with ISRO officials. I am sure it will inspire students and propel their scientific temper,” Dr Indira told Express.
A logo and name-the-museum-contest is currently on for schoolchildren in Kerala and Dr Nair said both will be formally announced soon. “We have also identified an architect with a plan to build some modern structure to house different phases of the museum,” Dr Nair said.
(Copyright@The New Indian Express)

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