A Class 10 student, Swagat Das of ST.VINCENT'S CONVENT HIGH SCHOOL, BALASORE, Orissa has won a prize in the NASA Ames space settlement design contest 2014 .
He got achievement in the contest by presenting an innovative project "Axius - a journey to the unknown to set up a space settlement in TITAN - the largest Moon of Saturn".
According to Swagat Das, "His project got the first prize in Grade 10 and because of this success, he got an honor to attend 33rd International Space Development Conference-2014 to be organized in California". He is busy in preparing a poster to be presented at the contest there. Das said, "My space settlement idea on Titan is feasible because the subsurface of the Saturn's moon has water-ammonia solution in which life can be sustained. But many other things like very low temperature and extreme terrestrial standards have to be studied further".
This year 562 entries were received from 1567 students from 18 countries and this annual contest was counducted by NASA Ames and the National Space Society (NSS), which is for students from grade 7 to grade 12 from across in the world. Small teams comprising of two to five students and large teams of six or more are evaluated independently.
"The NASA Space Settlement Contest has continued to benefit the global public for almost 20 years. The opportunity to participate in the contest has enabled students to become involved in their own projects and in STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics - pursuits", the NASA website says.
Swagat's father, Satyajit Barik is a mathematic lecturer in SORO College and his mother Bijyalaxmi is a homemaker. Swagat Das has also bagged various awards in several science conferences including Initiative for Research and Innovations in Science (IRIS)-2013 and 20th National Children's Science Congress. He has a fellowship from the department of science and technology and has done an internship at IIT- Kharagpur.