SPACE Foundation established Khagolshalas: Astronomy and Education Labs in collaboration with Principal Scientific Adviser to Government of India with the vision of empowering youth with tools and technology to become scientists and astronomers. The launch was also attended by Dr. Patrick Miller, Director, International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC), USA; Shri G. Chandramouli, Deputy Commissioner, Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti; Principals of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNV), and other JNV officials.
Students from JNV have made 384 preliminary discoveries under the Khagolshala Asteroid Search Campaign (KASC) conducted for students of JNV in collaboration with the International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) funded by NASA, JPL.
Prof. VijayRaghavan pointed out that this is an extraordinarily exciting phase that combines astronomy, observational astronomy across the spectrum, astrophysics, and big missions such as the laser interferometry gravitational Observatory (LIGO). Exciting discoveries are validating theories or testing their boundaries. One of the most exciting times for us as scientists, as citizens, all the changes which are happening combined with this is culminating in the collection of extraordinary volumes of data, their interpretation, and decision making. The accumulation and analysis of big data combined with the traditional excitement which astronomy provides are both now in theory, accessible to students across the world. Khagolshala is one venture which makes that access into reality and we all must congratulate everyone here at the space foundation and the Government of India for taking this forward.
Dr. Patrick Miller stated that students will make many observations and discoveries under the Khagolshala Asteroid Search Campaign. He is delighted to be a part of SPACE and will further continue to support the foundation. “It is only because of SPACE Foundation and Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan that we can impart Astronomy education to the students of JNVs. Students participated in KASC and searched for asteroids; Project Paridhi calculated the circumference of the Earth. By participating in such International and National events our students can enter into the space world,” said G. Chandramouli, Deputy Commissioner of Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti.
The interminable journey of KHAGOLSHALAS started with the setting up of Astronomy labs followed by the “Train the Teacher” program and successful completion of various events such as Khagolshala Asteroid Search Campaign, National Science Day, Project Paridhi, and ongoing Global Astronomy Month celebrations in the JNV’s. SPACE Foundation has plans to double the efforts by establishing more such labs and work towards the holistic development of students leading to a developed country.