Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission’s (Suparco) 50th anniversary was celebrated with contributions from 10 universities and 35 schools on Saturday.
The commission’s golden jubilee fell conveniently in the middle of World Space Week - October 4 to 10. In the evening, NED University of Engineering and Technology gave up its campus grounds for students to display designs, equipment and space technology simulations.
The national space agency was established in 1961 as a committee and was granted the status of a commission in 1981.
The students did not fail to deliver and everyone from schoolchildren to university students participated with ardour. The spectators and parents also played their part, applauding scientific developments displayed - the designs by Pakistani students received the most accolades.
Possibly the most interesting aspect of the Suparco exhibition was the ‘Telescopic reading of the sky’ by the Karachi Astronomer Society. These high-magnification telescopes attracted hundreds of observers. The moon-sighting telescope made the moon appear 78 times bigger while at a magnification of 260 viewers could see the pits on its surface. The other telescope was for ‘Sighting Jupiter’ with a magnification of 500 times.
For younger space enthusiasts, the Water Rocket Competition was a game meant to teach them about rocket science. The rockets were propelled into the air using the combined water and air pressure and were aimed at a target about 400 metres away.
“Once you start reading the language of stars and planets in the sky, you forget all other joys as they are the most charming and enchanting,” said the inspired Aziz Ahmed of Karachi Astronomer Society. “Unfortunately, we produce glass products but we do not produce lenses, which is not difficult to do.”
Engineer Muhammad Ahmed and National University of Science and Technology (NUST) students came up with a newfangled touch screen that allows the user to control household appliances.
Another NUST project led by Farhan Cheema worked around the concept of replacing industrial lights and streetlights with LED bulbs. The project proposed savings of up to 10 times the energy used and money spent on cost of operation.
‘Remote Access of SCADA with Online Video Streaming’ by Hamdard University students Ammar Surti and Muhammad Shaharyar Khalid was a project that allowed the user to control industrial operations from any corner of the world.
The young Mishkaat Aamir and Nasiq Zia of Crescent Baharia Cadet College put on an eye-opening presentation that USA and Russia were the only two countries in the world to explore space to the maximum.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2011.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly mentioned the Karachi Astronomer Society as the Karachi Astrology Society, this has been fixed. The error is regretted.