Young Astronomer Talent Search (YATS) winners embark on ISRO tour to Ahmedabad

Bhubaneswar: Winners of Tata Steel’s Young Astronomer Talent Search (YATS) 2023, organised in association with Pathani Samanta Planetarium, operating under the Science and Technology Department of Government of Odisha, have embarked on the journey to visit the Space Applications Centre (SAC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Saturday.

The 20 winners selected out of more than 300 schools from across 30 districts of Odisha will visit SAC, and the Science City in Ahmedabad.

Krushna Chandra Patra, Minister, Science and Technology Department and Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department, Government of Odisha, flagged-off the journey of these young students at the Pathani Samanta Planetarium (PSP) here.

Attending the flag-off event, Chithra Arumugam, Principal Secretary, Science and Technology Department, Government of Odisha and Chairperson, Pathani Samanta Planetarium, Prasanna Kumar Patra, Director, Pathani Samanta Planetarium, and Debashis Jena, Chief Resident Executive (CRE), Tata Steel, Bhubaneswar also encouraged the students with their inspiring words.

Other notable attendees from the Science and Technology Department, Government of Odisha, included Sibani Mohanty, Additional Secretary; Puja Mishra, Joint Secretary; Urmiprava Maharana, Deputy Secretary; Laxminarayan Padhi, Senior Scientist; and Padmalochan Das, Under Secretary.

Congratulating Pathani Samanta Planetarium and Tata Steel for organising such an event, Krushna Chandra Patra said, “India is doing a great job in space science and research at the world level. I believe these children will also be able to contribute in a big way to this field. I congratulate all the winners and my best wishes to their ISRO visit where they will learn a lot.”

Chithra Arumugam said, “I would like to thank and congratulate the 20 brightest students who have been selected from among 80,000 participants to visit and explore the space application center of ISRO at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Tata Steel has been conducting this noble initiative for the last 17 years and I am sure that the company will continue its efforts towards building a strong Industry-academia collaboration. I offer all the good wishes to the Students again and extremely hopeful that they would make us proud in the time to come.”

Thanking Pathani Samata Planetarium for all the support to organise YATS, Debasis Jena said, “YATS has been a pioneering initiative that encourages students to transcend conventional academic boundaries and nurture their scientific curiosity. We are grateful for the persistent support of the Government of Odisha and the Pathani Samanta Planetarium in making this platform a resounding success over the years. We are truly excited to provide these young winners the opportunity to explore the facilities of ISRO and further fuel their astronomical dreams.”

Selected from the Grand Finale of YATS held on December 13, 2023 at PSP, the students will be exploring the SAC labs and interact with its Director and other leading space scientists of SAC. Accompanied by officials of Pathani Samanta Planetarium, Tata Steel and their guiding teachers, the students will also visit the Science City, to explore the field of astronomy and space science.

The flagship event, hosted by Tata Steel in partnership with the Pathani Samanta Planetarium, has seen an astounding turnout, with more than 80,000 students from 30 districts of Odisha actively participating in this year’s edition. The theme for this year, “The Moon Base – Future Launchpad for Space,” has captured the imagination of participants and promises an exciting exploration of cosmic possibilities.

Since its inception in 2007, YATS has been instrumental in fostering awareness of astronomy and space science, paying homage to the legacy of Pathani Samanta. Over 17 years, YATS has captivated the enthusiasm of over 350,000 young science enthusiasts from the state, with 200 students, including the 17th edition, having the privilege of visiting various ISRO facilities.