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Reachout's  Newsmaker

Vignan Pattamatta
City boy selected to participate in the Mars exploration rover mission.

Hyderabad : Vignan, a Class IX student of St Pauls High School, is one of the two students selected from the country to participate in the Mars exploration rover mission.

The city boys along with Satvik Agarwal from Gurgaon were shortlisted by NASA to join 16 others from 12 countries in the prestigious ' Rover Goes to Mars ' mission.

Vignan will undergo training for 15 days at NASA during which he will also be a part of the public interface.

Born in 1989,he was brought up in a scientific environment, as his parents are scientists. The first recognition of his scientific talent was in 1997 when he won the first prize in the Science Exhibition in III Class.He exhibited a model of a satellite and it was his grand entry into space science.

Vignan had recently conducted an awareness campaign, in which there was a model of the Martian terrain like the Mars yard at the JPL, on which he placed a mini robot fitted with a camera. It transmitted pictures to the control station and the audience were all excited to see the robot visit the tallest mountain range, the biggest canyon etc.He also showed them how the Mars Exploration Rovers actually land on the Martian surface and the audience were enthralled by the wonderful animations by Dan Maas.

He is the recipient of the International Children’s Excellence Fund’s award for Excellency for the year 2000. His other notable achievements are the ‘Best Debater’ award from World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and two gold medals in the Montfort Literary and Cultural Festival.

All of his friends at school are actually waiting for him to complete his training as they expect him to share with them whatever he would learn in Pasadena. They are also now checking out the Planetary Society’s website in the lookout for further opportunities like the Student Astronaut Contest.

And when he come back to Hyderabad,young Vignan hopes to start a band of aspiring scientists who will, some day, really control a spacecraft and land on Mars!

Reachout's News Bureau
January' 2004

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