24 July, 2019
This last week, the world watched in awe, when Indian chests swelled with pride; and with good reason. They had two stupendous achievements to ride on, and both were equally good. Chandrayaan 2, the brainchild of ISRO, had a successful launch on 22nd Jul 2019, despite the launch having been put off just before launch the last time around. Hima Das, the young woman athlete, won her 5th gold, by finishing first in the 400m, in the Czech Republic event.
While Chandrayaan 2 attempts to explore the Moon to increase our understanding of space, and inspire future explorations and scientists, Hima, hailing from the state of Assam, has already overcome a lot of obstacles to achieve what she has. Let’s look at why both these achievements are inspirational enough to tell stories to our next generation.
This will be the first space mission to attempt a soft landing on the south polar region of the Moon. This was also a fully indigenous mission by India, elevating it to be just the fourth country to soft-land on the Moon ever. The experiments with the help of Chandrayaan 2 are expected to run for a year. While Chandrayaan 1 discovered evidence of water on the Moon’s surface, further studies in this regard need to be done.
Also, being cold, the South Pole region is also expected to have fossils that can help study the history of the Solar system. Incredibly, this mission is headed by two senior women scientists, Mission Director - Ritu Karidhal, and Project Director - Vanitha M. That should inspire many more to come into the field of science.
The golden girl
This golden girl has been nicknamed as “Dhing Express,” based on the name of the town from where she hails in Assam. She is the youngest of five children to farmer parents. Having pursued football early on, she switched to athletics, as she realized the future was bleak in women’s football in India.
Her first streaks of success came at the World U-20 championships, where she won the gold in the 400 m, in Jul 2018. She was part of the gold medal-winning relay team at the 2018 Asian Games. Earlier this month, she won the 200m Gold in Poznan Athletics Grand Prix and the 200m gold at the Kutno Athletics Meet, both held in Poland. She followed this up with a win in the 200m gold at the Kladno Athletics Meet in the Czech Republic, and the 200m gold in the Tabor Athletics Meet. And the fifth gold was what she won on 20th Jul 2019, 400m race at Nove Mesto, the Czech Republic, which made the whole of India proud.
The Prime Minister tweeted about both the successes, saying that India is proud about Hima Das. He also tweeted that India is about ISRO’s achievement, and each and every personnel, who has worked for the success of the ISRO’s Chandrayaan 2 mission. While the whole of India is waiting for the Chandrayaan 2 to make the landing as expected in Sep, Hima has set a standard and raised the expectations of more medals from her. Here is wishing the best for the both Hima and Mission Chandrayaan, and let’s hope we get to hear more inspirational stories from both. Let’s make sure that the next generation gets to hear about these achievements, and get inspired to achieve more
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