NaPSAT, an initiative of Bhubaneswar-based Navonmesh Prasar Foundation, is an interdisciplinary team of space enthusiasts who are engaged in projects ranging from the design of space systems, rovers, rockets, satellites and astronomy to participate in various international events.
Anil Pradhan, founder, Navonmesh Prasar Foundation said that it is happening for the first time that a school team from India has been selected for this challenge.
“It is happening for the first time that a school team from India has been selected to participate in the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge. We created a team during COVID time and identified 10 students from Odisha. We provided them training and later applied for NASA Rover Challenge. The interdisciplinary team has school students as well as ITI students. They are making a rover which can move on the surface of Mars and it would a human-powered rover,” Pradhan told ANI.
“We got the invitation from NASA and the event will take place in April 2021. We are preparing a rover and will send it to NASA. We will go there and compete with other teams. We are also raising funds,” he said.
Tanvi Mallick, Class 9 student, who is part of the team said: “I knew about NaPSAT. I decided to try out for this and was selected as well. We have been selected for the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge 2021. We are the first team from Odisha to get selected and the first high school student team from India. We are going to Alabama in April 2021 and will represent India in this competition.”
Speaking about the technicalities, another team member Ankan Mondal said that their rover can handle the weight of two people while moving on terrains of Mars and moon.
“We will be making human-powered rover for Mars and moon. We have to ensure that rover can handle the weight of two people. 100 teams are participating in the event,” he said.