Story of an Intern – Part Eight

December 7, 2017 India , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

MM photo



Ratnesh Dwivedi



The Teaching Assignment and Shiny Rachel Thomos


Designing “The Nose of The News” required time, study and money. I dedicated my time to reading books, searching websites and conceptualizing the episodes. I was somehow feeling busy, however it was not recognized till then. Sometimes I spent the whole day in a cyber café in Thipsandara market in search of news related stuff on the internet. But it was where I had to put all the money which I got from my brothers and parents. Dispatching it to top individuals and organizations always had the risk of questioning what was the intention behind it. But I did not stop and kept e-mailing the dispatches every week, mostly on Thursdays. I carried “The Nose of The News” until I was not fully engaged in a permanent full time job in 2008. This was the longest piece of journalistic work which I feel did not get any recognition.

There was a requirement for money if I had to carry my passion of writing reports and dispatching them. Sometimes I had to pay a whole day’s surfing charges to the cyber café in Thipsandara. Let me confess that at times I even stole some money to fulfil my obsession. But soon I realized that if I required to carry this forward I had to get a job. Soon, on other days of the week I started roaming around the city for a media job. But it was not my luck. I shifted my search from industry to academics as I had some experience of teaching in a media school. Bangalore is not as big as Delhi, so I could roam in each corner of the city in one day. It had also got almost seventy colleges which were running journalism programs. Some of these colleges were private, having AICTE and affiliation with Bangalore University.

One fine morning I saw an advertisement in my newspaper which was about a teaching assignment in a private college running a journalism program at bachelors level. I thought to try my luck and called the given number.

St George College of Management and Science was one of those colleges in Bangalore which somehow managed to get affiliation of AICTE and Bangalore University. It was run in a small building painted in white. The owner of the college was a shrewd businessman. He understood that I was in need of a job and would agree on his terms and conditions; he called me to meet him. The college was located in the Basavanguddi area and was five kilometers away from my house. As soon as I reached the college I developed the fear of rejection as it had happened with me in Delhi. But as I said, the owner of the college was a shrewd man. As he became conversant about my qualifications and experience, he asked me to join from next week and asked the HR people to release my appointment letter with a salary of 7000/- a month.

When I got the appointment letter in my hands I examined it many times. My hands were trembling as if I had got something very hot in my hands. I could not believe that I had something with me for which I had waited for years. A regular job and clear-cut bifercation of my salary. It was a dream which came true. I reached my house and told my parents and then my elder brother on his return from the office. All were happy and so was I as I had a source to carry out my dream to dispatch “The Nose of The News”. This was August 2004.


The Department of Journalism at St George College of Management and Science was in its first starting year and I was the only one to manage the department. But to my astonishment there were only two students to start with. One a Bengali student while the other was an Oriya. Both had come to Bangalore as they were not able to get in to their first choice of Engineering. On my first day when I was told about my duties I was also told to increase the strength of the department. I had to teach all five subjects incorporated in the first semester, which were Introduction to Mass Communication, Reporting, Basic of Editing, Audio Visual Journalism and Computer Application. Two other subjects which were part of the syllabus were taught by another faculty. There was no teacher who could teach English to the class of two students. And I started my class with my favorite subject of reporting. I had to take five continuous classes before sending both students to the computer lab, while I waited for an English faculty to join the college.

My primary concern was to motivate both students who were low on morale. I would tell them the challenges in reporting through the experience I had gained in Ayodhya and by meeting biggies in media like Rajdeep, Ami, Shikha Trivedi and Anita Pratap. To boost their morale level I would tell them how lucrative the media profession is.

One fine day I was called by the owner of the college and he told me that a new English faculty was going to join soon. In the meantime I took some advance money to dispatch episodes of “The Nose of the News”.

We had one day off on Sundays . One Monday when I went to my seat I saw a lady in her thirties sitting in front of me. Shiny Rachel Thomos was from Kerla but unlike most of the Kerelaits, she had a fair complexion and pleasant personality. She was warm enough to be affectionate to everyone. I liked that I now had company with me. We talked about the timetable and courses which she was going to share with me. She was in the college to teach English.

Shiny Rachel Thomos had a little daughter in her family and her husband was in UAE. Sometimes she would carry her daughter with her. The daughter was a copy of her mother; she would stick to her the whole day and seldom go out to have a packet of chips from the nearby shop. Shiny Rachel Thomos was good at communication and I found that she was happy to share her feelings with me. I too was appreciative towards her and we both put our best efforts to run the department.

I always sat next to her to discuss the many issues related to the department and she would always come up with a solution. Our chemistry was good, our bonding was best.

I narrated that the morale of both the students was low as they did not have enough students in the class. They always worried about the legality of the college and always came to me asking if the degree was valid and recognized. I had no answer for them and always said that everything was right. One day the Bengali students came to me and told me that he was withdrawing from college and shifting to another good college where he had secured admission. It was a shock for me as I had to worry for my job. If there would not be any students, why would the shrewd owner keep me and give me a salary, I thought. Despite the best of mine and Shiny Rachel Thomos’ efforts we could not hold the Bengali student and soon we found that the Oriya student also followed in the footsteps of the Bengali student.

As I had predicted, it was a waste of money to keep me in the department on the owner’s part. So one day when college was about to close for the day, the owner called me and asked me to put in my papers. I was in shock and told Shiny Rahel Thomos. I had to leave a job for which I had waited and a good friend in whom I trusted.

This was the end of my two month teaching assignment as lecturer at St George College of Management and Science.


I was again jobless, I was again shattered. This was September 2004 when I started working again on my concept of “The Nose of the News” from the same cyber café in Thipsandara market.

While working on the concept of dispatches I searched for a new hobby and that was to peep in to the websites of NASA and National Academy of Sciences. This was a new world for me, a new passion which sometimes kept me in the cyber café for the whole day. I somehow got associated with the Saturn Observation Campaign, an effort of Cassini Hyugence Mission of Jet Propulsion Laboratory-NASA and came in touch with Senior Outreach Specialist Jane Huston Jones. A very optimistic mission sent to study planet Saturn and its fabulous ring and moons.

My dispatches, which I sent also to the BBC, encouraged me to speak to the people there. I was sending my e-mails to Nik Gowing at BBC in London and wanted to speak to him. So one day I just rang him up and asked if he was receiving my e-mails. Nik Gowing, a prime time anchor and editor with BBC World was educated at the Simon Langton Grammar School in Canterbury and Latymer Upper School in London, followed by the University of Bristol.

A foreign affairs specialist and presenter at ITN from 1978, Gowing became Diplomatic Editor for the flagship Channel 4 News from 1989. During his time with the BBC, Gowing has since presented The World Today (1996–2000), Europe Direct, HARDtalk, Dateline London, as well as Simpson’s World.

At the time of the death of Princess Diana in 1997, Gowing anchored coverage for over seven hours, reportedly only having had 40 minutes sleep before being driven back to Television Centre to present. BBC World was being simulcast for the first time ever with the BBC domestic channel BBC One, making up a global audience of around half a billion, to whom he announced her death.

His coverage of the aftermath of the September 11th 2001 attacks won the 2002 Hotbird Award. He had been on air for six hours. He is also a Member of Council of the Royal United Services Institute.

He said that he was receiving hundreds of e-mails on a daily basis and was unable to recognize my e-mail out of the chunk. Whatever, he recognized it or deleted it from his system I admired him for the kind of coverage he did on Princess Diana’s death and 9/11.



Departing to Ayodhya again


I cursed my luck which was snatching away all the opportunities time was giving me and that is all I could do after I was out from the college. I calculated that it had been a good five years that I had not been able to find a regular job and was somehow keeping engaged in so called freelancing work and designing and dispatching of “The Nose of The News”. Time had given me a bad taste, destiny had written a tough chapter for me. All I could do was to accept god’s will and thanked him for all the support my brother’s family and parents were giving me. But as I said there is an end to everything. Somehow I realized that my brother himself was worried and upset for my non-performance or luck.

When we all realized that nothing was coming my way and as per Hindu tradition I also required to be married, my elder brother proposed a plan. For five years he had sheltered me and I had no doubt about his love and affection for me but he had responsibilities for his family as well. It is not that he was not pained and disturbed and so were my parents, but he was more worried for my future. Time was passing by very fast and social responsibilities had to be worn, so he suggested I move to my native place for a couple of years. He thought I would have to change my life, have a new atmosphere. As was tradition in my family I would get married in a cultured and civilized Brahmin family. I, who was rigid and firm that I would defeat my luck, did not like the plan initially, but had to accept it, as it was god’s will.

So, towards the beginning of November 2004, I along with my parents boarded a train to my native place where I had grown up, educated and learnt a lot about media. This was a second farewell for me against my will and desire from another city. I cried when I had to leave Delhi, but I was depressed when I was deported from Bangalore. Destiny had something else for me, time had otherwise.

I was unable to react when we all reached Ayodhya. We all had not been to our village for several years. It was locked, dirty and looked like it was desperately waiting for us to arrive. It took us one week to clean our part of the house (as I had narrated earlier, our village house was the residence of my father and his two brothers and their families) and it took me one full year to finally adjust in an atmosphere which was abandoned by me and seldom visited.

For the first week I did not go anywhere and remained confined to my house. As I started moving outside my village and kept going to Ayodhya to my uncle’s house I started finding new friends, those who recognized my work in 2002 and 2003 and those who had studied with me in school and college. Soon I realized that my point of depression was worth less and there was lots of life in town. I had some experience of teaching, I had experience of dispatching reports and designing my optimistic e-mail based program “The Nose of the News”, and I had several months of knowledge of space science which I got during my web surfing of NASA websites in the cyber café in Thipsandara. This was the time when I must explore new avenues where opportunities were less but the people were good.

Exploring such ideas, one day I knocked at the door of a University professor.

Avadh university was rechristened as Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University in memoriam of late Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, an epic socio-economic ideologue and freedom fighter par excellence. The government of Uttar Pradesh established University as sheer an affiliating university. The university assumed the shape of a residential University in the year 1984. In the ab initio the residential segment became functional with the opening of the four departments in the campus viz. history, Culture and Archaeology, Rural Economics, Mathematics and Statistics and Solid State Physics.

Being adhered to the dictum ‘slow and steady wins the race’, this university had been incessantly growing. Under the prolific and peerless leadership of visionaries and Vice-Chancellors the work-culture of the university had witnessed a phenomenal and revolutionary change. It is under his leadership of revolutionaries and visionaries that the old dictum about work-culture had been altogether replaced by the dictum, ‘Fast and forthwith progress of the university’ in its every walk of life. At campus level the University had been conducting Under Graduate / Post Graduate studies and researches in the disciplines of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics, Bio-Chemistry, Microbiology, Environmental Sciences and M.B.A. Besides, the subjects of Extension Education & Rural Development, Mass Communication & Journalism, M.S.W., and Library Science and Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.). To give an added fillip and to strengthen the residential set up a variety of courses in the umpteen disciplines of Under Graduate and Post Graduate studies were being launched in the campus in the academic session 2005-06.

Affiliated colleges spread over the 9 districts of Faizabad, Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Ambedkarnagar, Barabanki, Balrampur, Baharaich, Shravasti and Gonda also add to the magnitude and strength of the University. The successful conduction of academic activities, continuous endeavor for quality improvement, commitment towards perfection and excellence in the University would, beyond doubt, turn this University into one of the leading Universities of the nation.

Professor Vijay Kumar Pandey, a historian in his own right and an articulate person, was the one with whom I met first in the University. He was dean of the Faculty of Arts and Head of the Department with History and Archaeology departments. He himself was an archaeologist and had excavated many sites of historical importance in nearby areas.

I met him at his residence in the professor’s colony. He was living with his rather young wife. He was not blessed with children. When I was making a documentary with French filmmaker Dominique DeluzeI took Dominique to meet Professor Pandey. He recalled that meeting and asked me for a copy of the documentary. And as I told him how cynical Dominique was and narrated how I was involved in designing “The Nose of the News”, lecturing assignments and web search on space exploration, he randomly asked me to teach the need importance of Archaeology in the Space Science.

I was amazed at his intelligence. When most scientists believe that Space Science was purely a subject of science, the man in front of me was talking about the core and very basic thing which all space missions (manned or unmanned) do when they reach a lunar surface or another planet (in case of unmanned missions NASA had launched to various planets).

I decided to take this challenge. A person of such a great eminence had trusted me and I never wanted to betray him. This was a new concept, a challenging topic to tell the minute things of importance of Archaeology in Space Science.

So in February 2005 I started my unwritten association with the Professor and the University for which I was rarely paid and which lasted until the next year when I got a contract for lectureship in another University in the same region.



Lectures on Space Exploration


I planned my lectures pretty well keeping the need of M.A. and Ph.D students in mind. I was going to teach such a senior class and nothing should be missed. I prepared a document which dealt with the Art of Science, about missions in Space Science by NASA, about comets which are studied through the eyes of an Archaeologist and I took a case study of a very famous and experimental mission of NASA –The Deep Impact Mission which was destined to collide with a comet Tempel-1 in May June 2005. I also discussed with the curious lot of students about the Tsunami which had made a disastrous impact in coastal India.

For a full one year I delivered these lectures with Professor Pandey’s students, with students of the Engineering college of the University and with several other departments on the recommendation of professor Professor Pandey. Here are excerpts from what I discussed with the senior students of the University and how I designed it this by exploring NASA webpages and library.


Art of Science-


Thousands of years ago, on a small rocky planet orbiting a modest star in an ordinary spiral galaxy, our remote ancestors looked up and wondered about their place between Earth and sky. Today, we ask the same profound questions:


  • How did the universe begin and evolve?
  • How did we get here?
  • Where are we going?
  • Are we alone?


Today, after only the blink of an eye in cosmic time, we are beginning to answer these questions. Space probes and space observatories have played a central role in this process of discovery.

Our missions and research generate most of the coolest news coming out of NASA. We are responsible for all of NASA’s programs relating to astronomy, the solar system, and the sun and its interaction with Earth. Our science stretches from the middle levels of Earth’s atmosphere to the beginning of the universe, billions of light years away.

Our website serves our science community, educators, government decision-makers, and the public. We hope your visit is enjoyable. Thanks for stopping by!


Future Space Programs-

NASA’s Science Goals

The 2010 Science Mission Directorate Science Plan states that NASA’s goal in Planetary Science is to “ascertain the content, origin, and evolution of the solar system, and the potential for life elsewhere.”

NASA missions pursue this goal by seeking answers to fundamental science questions:


What is the inventory of solar system objects and what processes are active in and among them?

How did the Sun’s family of planets, satellites, and minor bodies originate and evolve?

What are the characteristics of the solar system that lead to habitable environments?

How and where could life begin and evolve in the solar system?

What are characteristics of small bodies and planetary environments that pose hazards and/or provide resources?


Discovery Program


NASA’s Discovery Program gives scientists the opportunity to dig deep into their imaginations and find innovative ways to unlock the mysteries of the solar system. It represents a breakthrough in the way NASA explores space, with lower-cost, highly focused planetary science investigations designed to enhance our understanding of the solar system.


Discovery Program Overview


NASA’s Discovery Program gives scientists the opportunity to dig deep into their imaginations and find innovative ways to unlock the mysteries of the solar system. When it began in 1992, this program represented a breakthrough in the way NASA explores space. For the first time, scientists and engineers were called on to assemble teams and design exciting, focused planetary science investigations that would deepen the knowledge about our solar system.

As a complement to NASA’s larger “flagship” planetary science explorations, the Discovery Program goal is to achieve outstanding results by launching many smaller missions using fewer resources and shorter development times. The main objective is to enhance our understanding of the solar system by exploring the planets, their moons, and small bodies such as comets and asteroids. The program also seeks to improve performance through the use of new technology and broaden university and industry participation in NASA missions

Discovery was among the first NASA programs to require a plan for education and public outreach, as NASA recognized the importance of communicating the excitement and meaning of space exploration to students and the public. Innovative methods that support national education initiatives are being developed to reach students of all ages.

All completed Discovery missions have achieved ground-breaking science, each taking a unique approach to space exploration, doing what’s never been done before, and driving new technology innovations that may also improve life on Earth.


Earth Science Enterprise


Studying Earth from space provides a unique global perspective on our home planet’s dynamic system of continents, oceans, atmosphere, ice and life. NASA’s Earth Science missions seek to understand how Earth is changing and the consequences to life on Earth.




New Report: Responding to the Challenge of Climate and Environmental Change

NASA’s Plan for a Climate-Centric Architecture for Earth Observations and Applications from Space Earth is a complex, dynamic system we do not yet fully understand. The Earth system, like the human body, comprises diverse components that interact in complex ways. We need to understand the Earth’s atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere as a single connected system. Our planet is changing on all spatial and temporal scales. The purpose of NASA’s Earth science program is to develop a scientific understanding of Earth’s system and its response to natural or human-induced changes, and to improve prediction of climate, weather, and natural hazards.


NASA recently completed deployment of the Earth Observing System, the world’s most advanced and comprehensive capability to measure global climate change. Over the coming decade, NASA and the Agency’s research partners will be analyzing EOS data to characterize, understand, and predict variability and trends in Earth’s system for both research and applications. Earth is the only planet we know to be capable of sustaining life. It is our lifeboat in the vast expanse of space. Over the past 50 years, world population has doubled, grain yields have tripled and economic output has grown sevenfold. Earth science research can ascertain whether and how the Earth can sustain this growth in the future. Also, over a third of the US economy – $3 trillion annually – is influenced by climate, weather, space weather, and natural hazards, providing economic incentive to study the Earth.

NASA Earth System Science conducts and sponsors research, collects new observations from space, develops technologies and extends science and technology education to learners of all ages. We work closely with our global partners in government, industry, and the public to enhance economic security, and environmental stewardship, benefiting society in many tangible ways. We conduct and sponsor research to answer fundamental science questions about the changes we see in climate, weather, and natural hazards, and deliver sound science that helps decision-makers make informed decisions. We inspire the next generation of explorers by providing opportunities for learners of all ages to investigate the Earth system using unique NASA resources, and our Earth System research is strengthening science, technology, engineering and mathematics education nationwide. This is a fundamental part of our mission because the leaders and citizens who will meet challenges of tomorrow are the students of today.




In order to study the Earth as a whole system and understand how it is changing, NASA develops and supports a large number of Earth observing missions. These missions provide Earth science researchers the necessary data to address key questions about global climate change.

Missions begin with a study phase during which the key science objectives of the mission are identified, and designs for spacecraft and instruments are analyzed. Following a successful study phase, missions enter a development phase whereby all aspects of the mission are developed and tested to ensure that they meet the mission objectives. Operating missions are those missions that are currently active and providing science data to researchers. Operating missions may be in their primary operational phase or in an extended operational phase.


Senior Reviews for Earth Operating Missions:


  • 2009 Senior Review

o             Science Panel Report

o             National Interest Sub-Panel Report

o             Technical & Cost Sub-Panel Report (TBS)


  • 2007 Senior Review


o             2007 NASA Earth Science CoMRP Report

o             2007 NASA Earth Science Senior Review – Education/Public Outreach

o             2007 NASA Earth Science Senior Review Report



Exploration Systems Enterprise


Why Do We Explore?

From the time of our birth, humans have felt a primordial urge to explore — to blaze new trails, map new lands, and answer profound questions about ourselves and our universe.

The mission of NASA’s Exploration Systems Enterprise is to conduct safe, sustained and affordable human and robotic exploration of Earth’s Moon, Mars and beyond.

This new era in human exploration will leverage American ingenuity and propel the nation on a new journey of innovation and discovery. Groundbreaking new technologies will enable exploration of new worlds and increase our understanding of the Earth, our solar system and the universe beyond. Further collaborations on the International Space Station will increase NASA’s return on investment and provide an optimal test bed for space technology research and development. In order to place NASA’s focus on this forward-looking space enterprise, the President’s Budget Request proposes cancelling the Constellation Program.

NASA doesn’t intend to embark on this new journey alone. Commercial and international partnerships will benefit from a collective spirit of discovery and adventure, and will reduce the cost of space exploration by employing new business practices and leveraging common goals. NASA also invites citizen stakeholders to participate and share in the excitement of space exploration through upcoming initiatives designed to educate as well as glean new, creative ideas from standard and unconventional contributors.

We invite you to read below about the study teams that have been formed to develop strategies for the proposed new programs. Plans will continue to evolve with the next step of House and Senate appropriations.

NASA is pleased to release this summary of the agency’s recent work on future human space exploration capabilities and missions, largely performed by our Human Exploration Framework Team (HEFT).

The agency established the HEFT last year to analyze exploration and technology concepts and provide inputs to the agency’s senior leadership on the key components of a safe, sustainable, affordable and credible future human space exploration endeavor for the nation. The team’s work helps provide a context for the next stage of NASA’s diverse portfolio of activities and a basis for ongoing architecture analysis and program planning. HEFT’s analysis focused on affordability, cost, performance, schedule, technology, and partnership considerations, while also identifying capabilities and destinations for future exploration as we move out, step by step, into the solar system.

HEFT has found that the most robust path for NASA in human space flight is a capability-driven approach where evolving capabilities would enable increasingly complex human exploration missions over time. A capability-driven framework also provides increased flexibility, greater cost effectiveness, and sustainability. Our strategy will open up many potential destinations for human spaceflight throughout the solar system, including the moon, near Earth asteroids, and Mars.


In NASA’s framework, the four initial priorities are:


1) A human-rated Space Launch System, or heavy lift rocket;


2) A Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle;


3) Commercial crew and cargo services to low Earth orbit, including the International Space Station; and


4) Mission-focused technologies to support expanded exploration capabilities in the future.

This summary provides information to facilitate discussions as the agency moves into the implementation phase of its new direction established in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010. Our intention is to provide effective assessment of the available information to support a roadmap that is affordable, sustainable and realistic. In line with future budget allocations and policy, we will continue to refine our strategic approach to short, mid and long term plans that will be leveraged by increasing capabilities and deepening partnerships with other nations. As we continue our analysis, NASA looks forward to working closely with the Congress and the public to build a space program that is forward thinking and also serves critical needs of the American people today.


Explorers Program


More than 70 spacecraft have been part of NASA’s Explorer Program, including America’s first artificial satellite – Explorer 1. The program’s goal is to provide frequent space flight opportunities with a series of low to moderate cost missions developed in a relatively short time frame.


Mars Exploration Program


NASA’s Mars Exploration Program sends robotic explorers to study the Red Planet roughly every two years. Current NASA Mars missions: Mars Global Surveyor, Mars 2001 Odyssey and the Mars Exploration Rovers (right), Spirit and Opportunity.



The Mars Exploration Program


Since our first close-up picture of Mars in 1965, spacecraft voyages to the Red Planet have revealed a world strangely familiar, yet different enough to challenge our perceptions of what makes a planet work. Every time we feel close to understanding Mars, new discoveries send us straight back to the drawing board to revise existing theories.

You’d think Mars would be easier to understand. Like Earth, Mars has polar ice caps and clouds in its atmosphere, seasonal weather patterns, volcanoes, canyons and other recognizable features. However, conditions on Mars vary wildly from what we know on our own planet.

Over the past three decades, spacecraft have shown us that Mars is rocky, cold, and sterile beneath its hazy, pink sky. We’ve discovered that today’s Martian wasteland hints at a formerly volatile world where volcanoes once raged, meteors plowed deep craters, and flash floods rushed over the land. And Mars continues to throw out new enticements with each landing or orbital pass made by our spacecraft.


The Defining Question for Mars Exploration: Life on Mars?


Among our discoveries about Mars, one stands out above all others: the possible presence of liquid water on Mars, either in its ancient past or preserved in the subsurface today. Water is key because almost everywhere we find water on Earth, we find life. If Mars once had liquid water, or still does today, it’s compelling to ask whether any microscopic life forms could have developed on its surface. Is there any evidence of life in the planet’s past? If so, could any of these tiny living creatures still exist today? Imagine how exciting it would be to answer, “Yes!!”

Even if Mars is devoid of past or present life, however, there’s still much excitement on the horizon. We ourselves might become the “life on Mars” should humans choose to travel there one day. Meanwhile, we still have a lot to learn about this amazing planet and its extreme environments.


Our Exploration Strategy: Follow the Water!


To discover the possibilities for life on Mars–past, present or our own in the future–the Mars Program has developed an exploration strategy known as “Follow the Water.”

Following the water begins with an understanding of the current environment on Mars. We want to explore observed features like dry riverbeds, ice in the polar caps and rock types that only form when water is present. We want to look for hot springs, hydrothermal vents or subsurface water reserves. We want to understand if ancient Mars once held a vast ocean in the northern hemisphere as some scientists believe and how Mars may have transitioned from a more watery environment to the dry and dusty climate it has today. Searching for these answers means delving into the planet’s geologic and climate history to find out how, when and why Mars underwent dramatic changes to become the forbidding, yet promising, planet we observe today.


Future Missions


To pursue these goals, all of our future missions will be driven by rigorous scientific questions that will continuously evolve as we make new discoveries.

Brand new technologies will enable us to explore Mars in ways we never have before, resulting in higher-resolution images, precision landings, longer-ranging surface mobility and even the return of Martian soil and rock samples for studies in laboratories here on Earth.


Human Space Flight


NASA’s Human Space Flight team has systematically developed the capability to live and work in space. Thousands of people work to keep astronauts living, working and researching in space aboard the International Space Station and Space Shuttle.


New Frontiers


Missions in NASA’s New Frontiers Program will tackle specific solar system exploration goals identified in the Decadal Solar System Exploration Survey conducted by the Space Studies Board of the National Research Council. Proposed targets include Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, Jupiter, Venus, and sample returns from the surface of a comet and Earth’s Moon. The program is designed enable high-quality planetary missions that require resources beyond those available in the lower-cost Discovery Program. The flight rate is expected to be about one mission every three years. The first New Frontiers mission is New Horizons.


New Millennium Program


The New Millennium Program tests breakthrough technologies in space before they become standard equipment on next-generation spacecraft. New Millennium solar system missions: Deep Space 1 and Deep Space 2.

NASA space science missions have ventured to the moon, explored other planets, traveled to the edges of our solar system, and peered back in time. They have also done what is sometimes even more difficult——studied our own planet, Earth.

These missions have provided astounding views of the universe and new knowledge of our solar system, but there is still so much more to “see” and learn. And, as missions become progressively more daring, and thus more difficult, more advanced capabilities are needed. However, before new, untried technologies are used for the first time on complex exploration missions, engineers and scientists want to make sure they will operate well, and safely, in the hazardous environment of space.

To accomplish this, NASA’s Office of Space Science (OSS) and Office of Earth Science jointly established the New Millennium Program (NMP) in 1995——an ambitious, exciting vision to speed up space exploration through the development and testing of leading-edge technologies. A unique program, managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, NMP provides a critical bridge from initial concept to exploration-mission use. Through NMP, selected technologies are demonstrated in the “laboratory” of space that can’t be replicated on Earth.

Since its inception over a decade ago, NMP has validated many innovative technologies for both Earth science and space science missions. Now funded and managed solely out of NASA’s newly formed Science Mission Directorate (SMD), the Program continues to demonstrate advanced technologies that will enable space science missions of the 21st century with significant (a several-generation leap) technical capabilities.

Highly advanced technologies are key to more capable, powerful, and efficient spacecraft and science instruments. They are also key to gathering new and exciting scientific knowledge of our solar system and of our universe.


Origins Program


NASA’s Origins Program seeks to answer questions that have endured since humans looked into the night sky: “Where did we come from?” and “Are we alone?” Origins scientists are from a wide range of scientific disciplines from astronomy, physics, and chemistry, to geology and paleontology, as well as micro- and evolutionary biology.


Project Prometheus


Project Prometheus was established in 2003 to develop technology in the areas of radioisotope power system and nuclear power and propulsion for exploration of the solar system. The project will develop the first reactor powered spacecraft and demonstrate that it can be operated safely and reliably on long duration space missions. The proposed Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter will be the first space science mission to use the new technology.



Sounding Rockets


Wallops manages NASA’s Sounding Rocket Program and is responsible for all aspects of a mission, from the launch vehicle, to payload design and development and data retrieval. Scientific data are collected and returned to Earth by telemetry links, which transfer the data from the sounding rocket payload to the researchers on the ground. In most cases, the payload parachutes back to Earth, where it is recovered and reused.


Scientific Balloons


Balloons have been used for decades to conduct scientific studies. While the basics of ballooning have not changed, balloon size has increased and their dependability has improved greatly. The Wallops Flight Facility manages the NASA Balloon Program, which offers capabilities and benefits for scientific research that cannot be duplicated by other methods.


Structure and Evolution of the Universe


The Structure and Evolution of the Universe program seeks to explore and understand the dynamic transformations of energy in the Universe—the entire web of biological and physical interactions that determine the evolution of our cosmic habitat. This search for understanding will enrich the human spirit and inspire a new generation of explorers, scientists, and engineers.




The Astrophysics Science Division conducts a broad program of research in astronomy, astrophysics, and fundamental physics. Individual investigations address issues such as the nature of dark matter and dark energy, which planets outside our solar system may harbor life, and the nature of space, time, and matter at the edges of black holes.

Observing photons, particles, and gravitational waves enables researchers to probe astrophysical objects and processes. Researchers develop theoretical models, design experiments and hardware to test theories, interpret and evaluate the data, archive and disseminate the data, provide expert user support to the scientific community, and publish conclusions drawn from research. The Division also conducts education and public outreach programs about its projects and missions.


Sun-Earth Connection


The SEC Division investigates the physics of the Sun, the heliosphere, the local interstellar medium, and all planetary environments within the heliosphere. Taken together, these studies encompass the scientific disciplines of solar physics, heliospheric physics, magnetospheric physics, and aeronomy. They address problems such as solar variability, the responses of the planets to such variability, and the interaction of the heliosphere with the galaxy.


Near Earth Objects (NEO)—


History of Comets–


Comets are the remainders of material formed in the coldest part of our solar system. Impacts from comets played a major role in the evolution of the Earth, primarily during its early history billions of years ago. Some believe that they brought water and a variety of organic molecules to Earth. Take a look at what Ancient Cultures thought of comets.

Comets are visible for two reasons. Dust driven from a comet’s nucleus reflects sunlight as it travels through space. Secondly, certain gases, stimulated by the sun, give off light like fluorescent light bulbs. Over time a comet may become less active or even dormant.

Scientists are anxious to learn whether comets exhaust their supply of gas and ice to space or seal it into their interiors. What is the difference between the interior of a comet’s nucleus and its surface? Controlled cratering like that planned for Deep Impact allows a look deep into the interior of the comet. Investigators anticipate that a look inside comet Tempel 1 will unlock the treasures a comet has to offer.

Comet Tempel 1 was discovered in 1867. Although few physical data are available, it appears to be a comet with relatively little surface activity. Orbiting the sun every 5.5 years, it has probably made more than one hundred passages through the inner solar system. This makes it a good target to study evolutionary change in the mantle or upper crust of the comet.

Studies of brightness variations with time indicate that the comet rotates much more slowly than Earth. Its rotation will not take the impact crater out of the spacecraft’s field of view during the encounter period.

Comets in Ancient Cultures-Comets have inspired dread, fear, and awe in many different cultures and societies around the world and throughout time. They have been branded with such titles as “the Harbinger of Doom” and “the Menace of the Universe.”


They have been regarded both as omens of disaster and messengers of the gods. Why is it that comets are some of the most feared and venerated objects in the night sky? Why did so many cultures cringe at the sight of a comet?

When people living in ancient cultures looked up, comets were the most remarkable objects in the night sky. Comets were unlike any other object in the night sky. Whereas most celestial bodies travel across the skies at regular, predictable intervals, so regular that constellations could be mapped and predicted, comets’ movements have always seemed very erratic and unpredictable. This led people in many cultures to believe that the gods dictated their motions and were sending them as a message.

What were the gods trying to say? Some cultures read the message by the images that they saw upon looking at the comet. For example, to some cultures the tail of the comet gave it the appearance of the head of a woman, with long flowing hair behind her. This sorrowful symbol of mourning was understood to mean the gods that had sent the comet to earth were displeased.

Others thought that the elongated comet looked like a fiery sword blazing across the night sky, a traditional sign of war and death. Such a message from the gods could only mean that their wrath would soon be unleashed onto the people of the land. Such ideas struck fear into those who saw comets dart across the sky. The likeness of the comet, though, was not the only thing that inspired fear.


Ancient cultural legends also played a hand in inspiring a terrible dread of these celestial nomads. The Roman prophecies, the “Sibylline Oracles,” spoke of a “great conflagration from the sky, falling to earth,” while the most ancient known mythology, the Babylonian “Epic of Gilgamesh,” described fire, brimstone, and flood with the arrival of a comet.

Rabbi Moses Ben Nachman, a Jew living in Spain, wrote of God taking two stars from Khima and throwing them at the Eearth in order to begin the great flood. Yakut legend in ancient Mongolia called comets “the daughter of the devil,” and warned of destruction, storm and frost, whenever she approaches the earth. Stories associating comets with such terrible imagery are at the base of so many cultures on Earth, and fuel a dread that followed comet sightings throughout history.

Comets’ influence on cultures is not limited simply to tales of myth and legend, though. Comets throughout history have been blamed for some of history’s darkest times. In Switzerland, Halley’s Comet was blamed for earthquakes, illnesses, red rain, and even the births of two-headed animals.

The Romans recorded that a fiery comet marked the assassination of Julius Caesar, and another was blamed for the extreme bloodshed during the battle between Pompey and Caesar. In England, Halley’s Comet was blamed for bringing the Black Death. The Incas, in South America, even record a comet having foreshadowed Francisco Pizarro’s arrival just days before he brutally conquered them.

Comets and disaster became so intertwined that Pope Calixtus III even excommunicated Halley’s Comet as an instrument of the devil, and a meteorite, from a comet, became enshrined as one of the most venerated objects in all of Islam. Were it not for a Chinese affinity for meticulous record keeping, a true understanding of comets may never have been reached.

Unlike their Western counterparts, Chinese astronomers kept extensive records on the appearances, paths, and disappearances of hundreds of comets. Extensive comet atlases have been found dating back to the Han Dynasty, which describe comets as “long-tailed pheasant stars” or “broom stars” and associate the different cometary forms with different disasters.


Although the Chinese also regarded comets as “vile stars,” their extensive records allowed later astronomers to determine the true nature of comets.

Although most human beings no longer cringe at the sight of a comet, they still inspire fear everywhere around the globe, from Hollywood to doomsday cults. The United States even set up the Near Earth Asteroid Tracking (NEAT) program specifically to guard us from these “divine” dangers.” However, although they were once regarded as omens of disaster, and messengers of the god(s), today a scientific approach has helped allay such concerns.

It is science and reason that has led the fight against this fear since the days of the ancients. It is science and reason that has emboldened the human spirit enough to venture out and journey to a comet. It is science and reason that will unlock the secrets that they hold.


Deep Impact Mission–


What is deep inside a comet?


Comets are time capsules that hold clues about the formation and evolution of the solar system. They are composed of ice, gas and dust, primitive debris from the solar system’s distant and coldest regions that formed 4.5 billion years ago. Deep Impact, a NASA Discovery Mission, is the first space mission to probe beneath the surface of a comet and reveal the secrets of its interior.

On July 4, 2005, the Deep Impact spacecraft arrives at Comet Tempel 1 to impact it with a 370-kg (~820-lbs) mass. On impact, the crater produced is expected to range in size from that of a house to that of a football stadium, and two to fourteen stories deep. Ice and dust debris is ejected from the crater revealing fresh material beneath. Sunlight reflecting off the ejected material provides a dramatic brightening that fades slowly as the debris dissipates into space or falls back onto the comet. Images from cameras and a spectrometer are sent to Earth covering the approach, the impact and its aftermath. The effects of the collision with the comet will also be observable from certain locations on Earth and in some cases with smaller telescopes. The data is analyzed and combined with that of other NASA and international comet missions. Results from these missions will lead to a better understanding of both the solar system’s formation and implications of comets colliding with Earth.


The Mission


The Deep Impact mission lasts six years from start to finish. Planning and design for the mission took place from November 1999 through May 2001. The mission team is proceeding with the building and testing of the two-part spacecraft. The larger “flyby” spacecraft carries a smaller “impactor” spacecraft to Tempel 1 and releases it into the comet’s path for a planned collision.

In December 2004, a Delta II rocket launches the combined Deep Impact spacecraft which leaves Earth’s orbit and is directed toward the comet. The combined spacecraft approaches Tempel 1 and collects images of the comet before the impact. In early July 2005, 24 hours before impact, the flyby spacecraft points high-precision tracking telescopes at the comet and releases the impactor on a course to hit the comet’s sunlit side.

The impactor is a battery-powered spacecraft that operates independently of the flyby spacecraft for just one day. It is called a “smart” impactor because, after its release, it takes over its own navigation and manoeuvres into the path of the comet. A camera on the impactor captures and relays images of the comet’s nucleus just seconds before collision. The impact is not forceful enough to make an appreciable change in the comet’s orbital path around the Sun.

After release of the impactor, the flyby spacecraft manoeuvres to a new path that, at closest approach passes 500 km (300 miles) from the comet. The flyby spacecraft observes and records the impact, the ejected material blasted from the crater, and the structure and composition of the crater’s interior. After its shields protect it from the comet’s dust tail passing overhead, the flyby spacecraft turns to look at the comet again. The flyby spacecraft takes additional data from the other side of the nucleus and observes changes in the comet’s activity. While the flyby spacecraft and impactor do their jobs, professional and amateur astronomers at both large and small telescopes on Earth observe the impact and its aftermath, and results are broadcast over the Internet.


Comet Tempel 1


Comet Tempel 1 was discovered in 1867 by Ernst Tempel. The comet has made many passages through the inner solar system orbiting the Sun every 5.5 years. This makes Tempel 1 a good target to study evolutionary change in the mantle, or upper crust. Comets are visible for two reasons. First, dust driven from a comet’s nucleus reflects sunlight as it travels through space. Second, certain gases in the comet’s coma, stimulated by the Sun, give off light like a fluorescent bulb. Over time, a comet may become less active or even dormant. Scientists are eager to learn whether comets exhaust their supply of gas and dust to space or seal it into their interiors. They would also like to learn about the structure of a comet’s interior and how it is different from its surface. The controlled cratering experiment of this mission provides answers to these questions.


Technical Implementation


The flyby spacecraft carries a set of instruments and the smart impactor. Two instruments on the flyby spacecraft observe the impact, crater and debris with optical imaging and infrared spectral mapping. The flyby spacecraft uses an X-band radio antenna (transmission at about eight gigahertz) to communicate to Earth as it also listens to the impactor on a different frequency. For most of the mission, the flyby spacecraft communicates through the 34-meter antennae of NASA’s Deep Space Network. During the short period of encounter and impact, when there is an increase in volume of data, overlapping antennas around the world are used. Primary data is transmitted immediately and other data is transmitted over the following week. The impactor spacecraft is composed mainly of copper, which is not expected to appear in data from a comet’s composition. For its short period of operation, the impactor uses simpler versions of the flyby spacecraft’s hardware and software – and fewer backup systems.


The Team


The Deep Impact mission is a partnership among the University of Maryland (UMD), the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Ball Aerospace and Technology Corp. The scientific leadership of the mission is based at UMD. Engineers at Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. design and build the spacecraft under JPL’s management. Engineers at JPL control the spacecraft after launch and relay data to scientists for analysis. The entire team consists of more than 250 scientists, engineers, managers, and educators. Deep Impact is a NASA Discovery Mission, eighth in a series of low-cost, highly focused space science investigations. Deep Impact offers an extensive outreach program in partnership with other comet and asteroid missions and institutions to benefit the public, educational and scientific communities.


The Comet-Tempel-1




Comet 9P/Tempel 1 was discovered on April 3, 1867 by Ernst Wilhelm Leberecht Tempel of Marseilles France while visually searching for comets. The comet was then 9th magnitude and described by Tempel as having an apparent diameter of 4 to 5 arcmin across. Later calculations revealed that the comet had been situated 0.71 AU from the Earth and 1.64 AU from the sun at that time.


Historical Highlights


The comet was very well placed for its 1867 discovery thanks to its closest approach to Earth (0.568 AU) and its perihelion (1.562 AU), which occurred on May 15 and May 24, respectively. Over the next five months after its initial detection, subsequent observations were frequently made. The comet was last detected on August 27, 1867 by Julius Schmidt, at which point the comet had become too faint for position measurements. At that time the comet was 1.30 AU from Earth and 1.81 AU from the sun.

The comet was first recognized as periodic in May of 1867 when C. Bruhns of Leipzig determined the orbital period to be 5.74 years. By the time the final observations had been made of the 1867 apparition, the orbital period had been re-calculated to be 5.68 years.

The comet was recovered on April 4, 1873 by E.J.M. Stephan of Marseilles, France. The comet remained under observation until July 1st of that year.

Predictions were made for an 1879 return, with the most ambitious being that of Raoul Gautier who computed definitive orbits from the two previous appearances before making his predictions for the upcoming return. Gautier’s predictions enabled Tempel to recover the comet on April 25, 1879. The comet was observed until its last detection on July 8.


In 1881, comet Tempel 1 passed 0.55 AU from Jupiter. Due to gravitational interactions, the comet’s orbital period was increased to 6.5 years and the perihelion distance was increased from 1.8 AU to 2.1 AU, making the comet an even fainter object. Subsequently, the comet was lost and it was not observed at its next expected return. Photographic attempts during 1898 and 1905 failed to recover the comet.

During 1963, B.G. Marsden conducted an investigation as to why comet Tempel 1 became lost. He found that further close approaches to Jupiter in 1941 (0.41 AU) and 1953 (0.77 AU) had decreased both the perihelion distance and the orbital period to values smaller than when the comet was initially discovered. These approaches moved Tempel 1 into its present libration around the 1:2 resonance with Jupiter. Subsequently, Marsden published predictions for the 1967 and 1972 returns in his paper On the Orbits of Some Long Lost Comets. (Courtesy of NASA Astrophysics Data System)

Despite an unfavorable 1967 return, Elizabeth Roemer of the Catalina Observatory took several photographs during 1967. Her initial inspections of these photographs revealed nothing. However, in late 1968 she re-examined the photographic plates and found that a single exposure taken on June 8, 1967 held the image of an 18th magnitude diffuse object very close to where Marsden had predicted the comet to be. Unfortunately, the single image did not provide definitive proof of the comet’s recovery.

During 1972, Marsden’s predictions allowed Roemer and L.M. Vaughn to recover the comet on January 11 from Steward Observatory. The comet became widely observed and reached a maximum brightness of magnitude 11 during May of that year. The comet was last seen on July 10. This apparition proved that the single image taken by Roemer in 1967 was indeed comet 9P/Tempel 1. Since that time the comet has been seen at every apparition.


Tempel 1 Before Its Discovery


Long term integrations of comet 9P/Tempel 1’s orbit suggest that the perihelion distance has been inside 10 AU for at least 3×105 years. The aphelion distance is much less well determined far in the past. The inclination of Tempel 1’s orbit has remained low for as far into the past as the integrations have been calculated.


Spacecraft and Instruments–


The Deep Impact Spacecraft


The flight system consists of two spacecraft: the flyby spacecraft and the impactor. Each spacecraft has its own instruments and capabilities to receive and transmit data.

The flyby spacecraft carries the primary imaging instruments (the HRI and MRI) and the impactor (with an ITS) to the vicinity of the comet nucleus.

It releases the impactor, receives impactor data, supports the instruments as they image the impact and resulting crater, and then transmits the science data back to Earth.

Image at Right: This illustration shows the Deep Impact two-part vehicle consisting of a flyby spacecraft and the impactor. Image credit: NASA

The impactor guides itself to hit the comet nucleus on the sunlit side. The energy from the impact will excavate a crater approximately 100m wide and 28m deep.

The instruments help guide both spacecrafts and then acquire the science data that will be analyzed by the science team.


The Boeing Delta II Launch Vehicle


Before the flight system can get to the comet, it has to be delivered into space.

The Deep Impact mission will be launched aboard a Boeing Delta II 2925 rocket with the dual spacecraft tucked within the Delta’s fairing.

The Delta II launch vehicles are descended from the Delta rockets that have been in use since the 1960s. They have carried aloft a number of NASA spacecraft like Deep Space 1, NEAR, Mars Climate Orbiter, Mars Polar Lander, STARDUST, FUSE, IMAGE and EO-1/SAC-C into space.


3.4.19-Feature of Spacecraft-


Technology – Flight System



The flight system consists of two spacecraft: the flyby spacecraft and the impactor. Each spacecraft has its own instruments and capabilities to receive and transmit data.

The flyby spacecraft carries the primary imaging instruments (the HRI and MRI) and the impactor (with an ITS) to the vicinity of the comet nucleus. It releases the impactor, receives impactor data, supports the instruments as they image the impact and resulting crater, and then transmits the science data back to Earth.

The impactor guides itself to hit the comet nucleus on the sunlit side. The energy from the impact will excavate a crater approximately 100m wide and 28m deep.

The instruments help guide both spacecrafts and then acquire the science data that will be analyzed by the science team.


Main Goals of the Flight System:


  • Hit nucleus of Tempel 1 with sufficient kinetic energy to form a crater with a depth > 20m
  • Observe nucleus for > 10 minutes following impact
  • Image nucleus impact, crater development and inside of crater
  • Obtain spectrometry of nucleus and inside of crater
  • Acquire, store, format, and downlink imagery and spectrometry data


Feature of Flyby Spacecraft



As part of Deep Impact’s Flight System, the flyby spacecraft is one of two vessels carrying the three science Instruments. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. designed the spacecraft specifically for the Deep Impact mission.


The flyby spacecraft features a high throughput RAD750 CPU with 1553 data bus-based avionics architecture, and a high stability pointing control system. Spacecraft optical navigation and conventional ground-based navigation will facilitate maneuvering the flyby spacecraft as close as possible to the collision course with comet Tempel 1. When the impactor is released from its union with the flyby spacecraft, the flyby spacecraft will slow itself down and align itself to observe the impact, ejecta, crater development, and crater interior as it passes within 500 km of Tempel 1. It will also receive data from the impactor and transfer it to the Deep Space Network ground receivers.

The flyby spacecraft carries two of the three primary instruments, the High Resolution Instrument (HRI) and the Medium Resolution Instrument (MRI), for imaging, infrared spectroscopy, and optical navigation.


About the size of a Ford Explorer, the flyby spacecraft is three-axis stabilized and uses a fixed solar array and a small NiH2 battery for its power system. The structure is aluminium and aluminium honeycomb construction. Blankets, surface radiators, finishes, and heaters passively control the temperature. The propulsion system employs a simple blowdown hydrazine design that provides 190 m/s of delta V. The flyby spacecraft mass is 650 kg.


During the encounter phase, a high gain antenna transmits near-real-time images of the impact back to Earth. The flyby spacecraft uses X-band to communicate to Earth and S-band to communicate with the impactor after separation.


Debris shielding is a key part of the flyby S/C design. As the spacecraft passes through the inner coma of the comet it is in danger of being hit by small particles that could damage the control, imaging and communication systems. To minimize this potential damage the spacecraft is rotated before it passes through the inner coma allowing debris shielding to provide complete protection to the flyby spacecraft and instrument elements.


Payload Power: 92 W average during engagement


Payload Mass: 370 kg impactor, 90 kg instruments


Payload Total Data Volume: 309 Mbytes


Payload Data Downlinked: 309 Mbytes


Pointing Accuracy: 200 microradian

(inst. boresight orientation)


Pointing Knowledge: 65 microradian 3 axes 3-sigma


Telecom Band to Earth: X-band


Uplink/Downlink Rates: 125 bps/175 Kbps

(exclusive of Reed-Solomon encoding)


Telecom Band to Impactor: S-band


Data Rate to Impactor: 64 Kbps @ max range (8,700 km)


Propulsion/RCS: 190 m/s divert;

5000 N-s RCS total impulse

Deep Impact’s Impactor


The impactor separates from the flyby spacecraft 24 hours before it impacts the surface of Tempel 1’s nucleus. The impactor delivers 19 Gigajoules (that’s 4.8 tons of TNT) of kinetic energy to excavate the crater. This kinetic energy is generated by the combination of the mass of the impactor (370 kg; 816 lbs) and its velocity when it impacts (~10.2 km/s). Targeting and hitting the comet in a lit area is one of the mission’s greatest challenges since the impactor will be traveling at 10 km per second and it must hit an area less than 6 km (3.7 miles) in diameter from about 864,000 km (536,865 miles) away. To accomplish this feat, the impactor uses a high-precision star tracker, the Impactor Target Sensor (ITS), and Auto-Navigation algorithms (developed by Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the DS-1 mission) to guide it to the target. Minor trajectory corrections and attitude control are available by using the impactor’s small hydrazine propulsion system.


The impactor is made primarily of copper (49%) as opposed to aluminium (24%) because it minimizes corruption of spectral emission lines that are used to analyze the nucleus.


The impactor is mechanically and electrically attached to the flyby spacecraft for all but the last 24 hours of the mission. Only during the last 24 hours does the impactor run on internal battery power. The propulsion system uses hydrazine that can provide 25 m/s of delta-V for targeting.


System Requirement Specifications for the Impactor


Image Data Volume:    Approximately 17 Mbytes (about 35 images) total


Pointing Accuracy:    2 mrad 3-sigma (targeting sensor boresight orientation)


Pointing Knowledge:    150 microradian 3 axes 3-sigma


Targeting Accuracy:    300 m 3-sigma WRT nucleus center of brightness


Telecom Band:    S-Band


Data Rate to S/C:    64 Kbps @ max range (8,700 km)


Command Rate:    16 Kbps


Energy Storage:    2.8 Kw-hr for baseline 24 hr mission


Propulsion/RCS:    25 m/s divert; 1750 N-s RCS impulse

3.4.24-Technology – Instruments

Built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., the Deep Impact instruments have two purposes. They guide the flyby spacecraft and impactor onto a collision course with the comet and they take the science data before, during, and after the impact. The instruments are designed so that they satisfy the following science requirements:

Pre-impact Imaging Requirements:

Observe the comet and targeted impact site prior to impact, acquiring spatial and spectral data

Ejecta Imaging Requirements:

Observe the ejecta and track the movement of the ejecta curtain from crater to coma

Crater Evolution Data Requirements:

Observe the crater and surface evolution

Pristine Crater Data Requirements: Observe the exposed pristine crater surface features via spectral imagers with increasing resolution

Modular Design Requirements:

Have opto-mechanically interchangeable focal plane modules


The primary instruments on the flyby spacecraft are the High Resolution Instrument (HRI) and the Medium Resolution Instrument (MRI). The HRI, one of the largest space-based instruments built specifically for planetary science, is the main science camera for Deep Impact. It provides the highest resolution images via a combined visible camera, an infrared spectrometer, and a special imaging module. The HRI is optimally suited to observe the comet’s nucleus. The MRI serves as the functional backup for the HRI, and is slightly better at navigation for the last 10 days of travel before impact due its wider field of view, which allows it to observe more stars around the comet. The difference between the two is the telescope, which sets the field of view (FOV) and the resolution of each. .


The ITS on the impactor is nearly identical to the MRI as it uses the same type of telescope as the MRI as well as the same type of CCD that is in the MRI’s Multi Spectral CCD Camera but differs only in that it lacks the filter wheel.

Technology – Instruments

Built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., the Deep Impact instruments have two purposes. They guide the flyby spacecraft and impactor onto a collision course with the comet and they take the science data before, during, and after the impact. The instruments are designed so that they satisfy the following science requirements:

Pre-impact Imaging Requirements:

Observe the comet and targeted impact site prior to impact, acquiring spatial and spectral data

Ejecta Imaging Requirements:

Observe the ejecta and track the movement of the ejecta curtain from crater to coma

Crater Evolution Data Requirements:

Observe the crater and surface evolution

Pristine Crater Data Requirements:

Observe the exposed pristine crater surface features via spectral imagers with increasing resolution

Modular Design Requirements:

Have opto-mechanically interchangeable focal plane modules



The primary instruments on the flyby spacecraft are the High Resolution Instrument (HRI) and the Medium Resolution Instrument (MRI). The HRI, one of the largest space-based instruments built specifically for planetary science, is the main science camera for Deep Impact. It provides the highest resolution images via a combined visible camera, an infrared spectrometer, and a special imaging module. The HRI is optimally suited to observe the comet’s nucleus. The MRI serves as the functional backup for the HRI, and is slightly better at navigation for the last 10 days of travel before impact due its wider field of view, which allows it to observe more stars around the comet. The difference between the two is the telescope, which sets the field of view (FOV) and the resolution of each.


The ITS on the impactor is nearly identical to the MRI as it uses the same type of telescope as the MRI as well as the same type of CCD that is in the MRI’s Multi Spectral CCD Camera but differs only in that it lacks the filter wheel.


In the span of one year I stayed with Professor Pandey, I became a close associate of his and a close confide and intact friend of him. Each day in the evening we would sit together at his residence and he would tell me the finer points of Archaeology and History, about problems in Ayodhya and Faizabad, about his meeting with a Cambridge University professor – Prof Dilip Chakraborty and about people in the University. I would listen to him very carefully while sipping a cup of tea.

I remember how closely he was associated with the concerns of the people in Ayodhya that when five terrorists beamed penetrated in to the disputed site. He immediately called a senior officer in the Home Ministry and narrated the whole incident and the problems. I would fight with him, debated with him but the next moment we would become good friends. He also gave me a task to translate one of his books which he wrote during the visit of his friend and Professor of Cambridge University – Professor Dilp Chakraborty. I started it and completed within a span of one month for which he appreciated me and gave me the e-mail address of Professor Dilip Chakraborty.

In a way he mentored me for a span of one year until my new job with another University in February 2006. For fone year between February 2005 and -February 2006, we shared many secrets and many stories. He died in 2010, when he met with a minor accident and was shifted to a Delhi hospital. It was purely a shock for me when I heard about professor’s untimely death, about which I have narrated in ‘Dispatch-13’ in “The Nose of the News” segment.



Terror Attacks in Ayodhya


Apart from lecturing in the University, I changed my routine in daily life. I tried to leave all my worries and the people of Delhi and Bangalore aside. My routine was to get up early in the morning and then to take my bicycle out and go to a gym close to my village. The gym was located near a mosque and many Muslim boys were regulars at that gym. It gave me a healthy feeling. By 10:00 am I would again ride my bicycle and go to the University for lectures. By evening I would be tired and after taking an early dinner every night would go to sleep.

It was on the morning of 5th July and when I was gymming, a group of Muslim boys came running inside and shouted, “Are Un Logon ne Attack Kar Diya Hai,”(Oh, those people have attacked). Before I could understand anything and came out of the gym, news spread like a fire. I returned to my village, and then I got to know the truth. One of my cousin brothers told me that some terrorists had entered the disputed site and a fierce gun battle was going on with security forces.

I again took my bicycle out and reached my uncle’s house in Ayodhya. Midway I heard people talking about a terrorist attack behind closed doors. It was the first of its kind in Ayodhya. Terrorists had tried to enter a certain temple before as well, but this time it was a neck-to-neck fight. As I reached my uncle’s house I saw the entire area was cordoned off and each street of Ayodhya had been occupied by security forces.

The gun battle was still going on and there was a rumor that the terrorists were staying in Ayodhya for the past seven days in the get-up of ‘Pandas’ (priests). They confided in another ‘panda’ who helped them to allow him to visit the site. However, he did it without knowing their intentions.

My uncle’s only son, who was the eldest among all of us, took me to the site where the battle had already finished. All the terrorists were gunned down. There were five. While security forces and police kept searching nearby areas suspecting if any one of them would have hidden, the media gathered at the disputed site.

All five terrorists succeeded in ramming into the disputed site by blowing off the security barricade, and while they intended to attack ‘Garb Griha’ (Sanctum Sanctorum), they came under fire by security forces deployed heavily in and around the disputed site. Security forces cleared the area and gave a ‘Press Conference’ before the media people. The security vigilance was kept on high alert for the next week and many suspects were arrested from nearby areas.

I filed two reports in the coming months about this incident, again to more than two dozen individuals and organizations.




Six heavily armed terrorists, who made an attempt to storm the high-security makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya, were killed before they could make it to the shrine.

The attackers came in an ambassador car at around 0900 IST, following an explosive-laden jeep, which they rammed into the security barricade to breach the cordon.

While one militant who rammed the jeep was blown to pieces, five others were killed in the encounter with security personnel, Faizabad Commissioner Arun Sinha said.

Sources said that a woman devotee, who happened to be near the scene of blast, also succumbed to her injuries in the hospital, official sources here said.

Police sources said that the militants were disguised as devotees.

The barricade and the protective wall collapsed as a result of the explosion and the militants were able to gain entry into the campus through the Sita rasoi (kitchen), Sinha said.

He said the security personnel however intercepted them.

Police sources said that the arrested driver Rehan is a resident of Ayodhya, and he was being interrogated.

Four AK 47 and AK 56 rifles, some hand grenades and ammunition were recovered from the bodies of the slain militants, they said.

This is the first terrorist attack on the disputed complex since the makeshift temple came up after the demolition of the Babri mosque 13 years ago.




On 5 July 2005, five terrorists attacked the makeshift Ram temple at the site of the destroyed Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, India. All five were shot dead in the ensuing gunfight with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), while one civilian died in the grenade attack that the terrorists launched in order to breach the cordoned wall. The CRPF suffered three casualties, two of whom were seriously injured with multiple gunshot wounds.

On 5 July 2005, the heavily guarded Shri Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid complex, the site of the destroyed Mosque and, according to Hindus, the birthplace of God Shri Ram, at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh state of India was attacked by heavily-armed terrorists. The attack was foiled by security officials and the attackers were killed.

The terrorists are believed to be from the terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Toiba, and are believed to have entered India through Nepal. They posed as pilgrims to Ayodhya and boarded a Tata Sumo at Akbarpur near the Kichaucha village in Faizabad. At Faizabad they abandoned the Sumo and hired a jeep driven by a driver, Rehan Alam Amsari. According to a statement by the driver, the terrorists visited the Shri Ram Mandir (Temple) at Ayodhya where they prayed, possibly to reinforce the impression that they were indeed pilgrims. The terrorists then drove the jeep into the Shri Ram Janambhoomi and forced the driver out of the vehicle, banging the jeep against the security cordon. At 9:05 am, they hurled M67 hand grenades from 50 metres away to breach the cordon fence. Ramesh Pandey, a pilgrim guide who happened to be near the site at this moment, 50 m away from the terrorists, died on the spot as a result of the grenade blast. Firing indiscriminately, the 5 terrorists entered Mata Sita Rasoi. Returning the gunfire, a platoon of 35 CRPF soldiers killed all five of the fighters in a gunfight that lasted for over an hour. Three CRPF soldiers also received serious injuries and, as of July 2008, two remain comatose. All the terrorists died within 100 meters of the site.

It is suspected that the terrorists belonged to the group Lashkar-e-Toiba. The investigating team is tracking the phone calls made from the cell phones using the IMEI numbers. The pPolice recovered a single RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade launcher, five Type 56 assault rifles, five M1911 pistols, several M67 grenades and some jihadi documents.

Rehan Alam, the jeep driver, was detained by the police for further investigations.

On 28 July 2005, four men from Jammu and Kashmir– Akbar Hussain, Lal Mohammad, Mohmmad Naseer and Mohmmad Rafeeq– were arrested in connection with the attack. On 3 August 2005, another four men– Asif Iqbal, Mohd Aziz, Mohd Nasim and Shaqeel Ahmed– were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the bombing. A fifth man, Irfan Khan, was arrested a few days earlier.

Most of India’s political organizations condemned the attack as barbaric and requested people to maintain law and order. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, its offshoot the Vishva Hindu Parishad and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) declared an India-wide protest and bandh on 8 July 2005. BJP president L.K. Advani called for reinstatement of the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act (POTA) in the wake of the attack.



Contract Lectureship and My Marriage


Lectures on Space Exploration in the University, discussions with Professor Pandey on the minutest parts of Archaeology and History, and dispatches to two dozen individuals as part of “The Nose of The News” were somehow satisfying my journalistic and creative instincts, but they were heavy on my pocket. Since I seldom got any payment from the University, I had to worry about finances which I had to put out to carry the episodes. One day, one of my neighbors in the village told me about a vacancy in another University in a nearby district, Jaunpur.

The vacancy was for the post of contract lectureship in the department of Journalism and Mass Communication, for three years. I checked the University website and it read-

Purvanchal University, Jaunpur renamed as Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University in the honor of late Shri Veer Bahadur Singh, former Chief Minister of the state, was established on 2nd October 1987 as an affiliating university under U.P. State university University Act 1973. Continuous qualitative and quantitative growth, excellence in academic and administrative activities, transparent and efficient academic administration have been some of the distinct characteristics on the basis of which the university emerged as one of the leading universities of the state. Started with the 68 affiliated colleges, the university now has widened its spectrum of activities with 367 affiliated graduate and post-graduate colleges and students enrolment of nearly three lacs and eighty thousand in 5 Districts of Eastern Uttar Pradesh.

The university is located at 10 km from the historic city of Jaunpur on Jaunpur-Shahganj road which divides its 171.5 acres campus into two. Jaunpur is well connected by Train, Road and Air with the rest of the country. The infrastructure development, achievement of academic excellence, quality assurance in the higher education and socio-economic development of this highly backward & rural region of Eastern Uttar Pradesh are some of the priority areas for which the university is putting its best efforts.

Impressed with the credentials of the University, I immediately applied as it was a job in a governement University. My father who had been continuously advising me on the need of a good job as I he had to fulfil his responsibilities to see me married into a good, cultured Brahmin family of same status, was happy. He accompanied me on the day of the interview. Some fifty candidates, most of them were Ph.D. and UGC-NET, had come from long distances to appear for the interview.

When my turn came I introduced myself with all my emphasis on the need of a person who had both industry and academic experience. I felt I had satisfied the interview committee to the best of my efforts.

We returned to our village and exactly after one month the postman dispatched the letter for which my father was waiting more than me. I was selected and it was the second appointment letter of an academic assignment I had received, and that too in a government University. I got the job of lectureship on a contract basis on a salary of 8000/- a month. I was required to join before March 8, 2006.

My father was the happiest person on earth as he saw a hope for getting a high class Brahmin girl for me, which was now his primary responsibility. He again accompanied me to VBS Purvanchl University when the date of joining arrived. We stayed at the residence of one of my brother’s teacher, who by then had shifted to this University as the director of the engineering college of the University. He guided both of us on the paperwork required to be submitted to the administration of the university. I started with my second academic assignment from 9th March 2006. My father advised me about the people and places in the area and left for my village – all satisfied.


Soon I got accommodation in the PG student hostel, which was primarily occupied by most of such students who were mostly interested in politics. The Head of Department was a man who had utilized all his contacts to remain in the position, but he had an academic inclination and had somehow managed to nurture a dream to grow the department.

Parmatma Mishra a fearful man who was also selected for the contract lectureship, was one whom I trusted. He was NET qualified and was enrolled for Ph.D. His biggest problem was another young and ‘dynamic’ entrant in the lot of contract lecturers –Digvijaya Singh. We all three were staying in the PG hostel, which was meant for students. Digvijaya Singh always barged into Parmatma’s room while he would be busy talking to his would-be wife, and Parmatama would be rushing to my room to get a safe space to talk to her.

We all were happy fellows and were sure about our future and sure that like Parmatma Mishra that we would also get cultured wives. The HOD, a jack of all trades, gave me the responsibility to carry out a publication for which he allowed me to stay back till late evening. My job was to compile all the research papers which we had received from scholars in hard copy. I would read all the papers, correct them and type it them on the HOD’s computer, and on Sundays I would rush to the Jaunpur town, which was 10 kms away from the university, to find a cyber café from where I could dispatch “The Nose of The News”.

While on the other hand my father was busy looking out for a family where he could have tied my knot, I was enjoying the days at VBS Purvanchal University among lots of students who were keen to make an entry into the media. I was helping them out and assuring them that they all were capable individuals.


One day I received a call from my father who told me about a family who had approached him for my marriage.

In a place like eastern UP, the best way to make money is either becoming a politician or a contractor. The family who had approached my father was involved in contractorship in liaising with state government. Money was floating in that family and they were on the look out for an educated Brahmin family for their second daughter.

As in a typical higher class Brahmin family, the groom’s approval matters came last while the elders of the family were to be contacted first. So, one day an arrangement was made in a lodge to see the girl to whom I was supposed to marry, after all the elders had approved the initial stages.

From my side both my elder sisters and parents, along with me, were invited while from the girl’s side, the parents, her brother and his wife, and her younger sister welcomed us. The girl was educated up to my qualifications and the family, despite being contractors, was civilized.

And that is how I was engaged to a girl I hardly knew. Passing all the stages of the pre-marriage ceremony, the day came when I was supposed to be married. It was all happening within a span of one month and 18th June of 2006 was fixed for marriage.

I was the happiest person as I was getting my life-mate. Some 200 relatives from both sides participated in the marriage ceremony and in the function which lasted a day and night with the priest chanting all the hymns from the holy ‘Vedas’. I was called a responsible, happily wed married man. All invitees and relatives blessed both of us for a bright future and married life.



Letter from BBC


The 2005-6 sessions at VBS Provencal had ended and gave me time to be adjusted in my new married life. But the dispatches to two media organizations and individuals including Rajdeep Sardesai and Nik Gowing had not stopped. Since it was a weekly exercise that required me to go to Faizabad city to be in a cyber café, I reduced the frequency of dispatches and tried to get feedback from the individuals who were receiving it.

The one individual who was a recipient of my dispatches was BBC news presenter and producer Lucy Hockings.

Lucy Hockings is a New Zealander who is working as a television journalist for BBC World News. She joined the network as producer in 1999, just before being promoted to senior producer in 2000, and worked on Asia Today and HARDtalk. Due to viewer complaints about her accent, she went to the Royal Academy of Drama for speech lessons. She reported on the September 11, 2001 attacks, followed by the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. In 2003, she became a presenter on BBC World (as it was then called) and covered such events as the 2004 tsunami, the death of Pope John Paul II and the 2005 London bombings. In 2006, she was made full-time presenter of The World Today. In her spare time, she is also a features reporter for BBC World News. Her previous assignments include Canada, Spain, Norway, and the Netherlands.

She currently presents the 1000UKT Newshour on BBC World News with David Eades, and bulletins at 1100UKT and 1300UKT. She can also be seen regularly standing in for Nik Gowing on weekdays to present The Hub from 1700UKT to 1900UKT broadcast every weekday on BBC World News.


I had already spoken to Nik Gowing from Thipsandara market in Bangalore. This time I was contacting Lucy Hocking. Lucy Hockings is a widely acknowledged TV presenter who appears almost daily on BBC World. The day I called BBC HQ, she was on an off day.

Now it became a routine for me to send dispatches to all the two dozen contacts every week.

And my two years effort, an unpaid ‘social work’ which cost me time and money both, got a reward. I received a letter from BBC HQ, which had asked me to stop mailing the BBC and to stop all communication with Lucy Hockings. The mail was more treating and less advising on the concerns I had for “The Nose of The News”. I replied to them and that is how I ended my all communication and phone calls to the BBC. This was an end to “The Nose of The News”, a stop to my dispatches and an end to all what I was doing in the period of joblessness which later on gave me the confidence and courage to stand tall in the market of media education. Shattered, I looked at the last communication that Tony Henningan of BBC wrote to me:


Wednesday, 27 September, 2006 2:54 PM


Tony Hennigan <[email protected]> wrote:


Many thanks for your e-mail, Ratnesh and in particular might I thank you for your assurance that you will not be contacting ‘BBC staff’ again.  I can but hope that you prove to be a man of your word and might I provide you with the assurance that you seek that I will be more than happy never to contact you ever again.


Tony Hennigan




Job hunt and Dehradun


The next session at VBS Purvanchal University had started and we were interviewed again in order to save our contractual Lecturership, but none of us was able to retain it. Parmatma Mishra shifted his base to Banaras and Digvijaya Singh filed a case on the university that a contractual lectureship which was assured for three years cannot be broken only after completion of one year. He won the case and remained in the university as contractual lecturer.

I was married by then and had an added responsibility. The reason for which I was deported from Bangalore. My father and elder brother had fulfilled their responsibility to settle me in my life. So, as a more responsible brother, he called me and my wife both to Noida. He by then had shifted to his Noida home, while he had purchased a new house in Bangalore as well.

So we boarded a train to New Delhi and landed to in the newly purchased house of my brother in Noida, in the winters of January 2007.

This time a reluctant me did not approach any individual or company in the media. The hurt before 2004, which made me leave Delhi for Bangalore, was still there. On the recommendation of my father’s friend (who by now had developed a circle in Noida) I found a job as an academician in a media school of a TV Channel, which kept me engaged for the next three months.

And then I applied for a permanent lectureship with a premier institution in Dehradun, and was called for interview. This was a permanent lectureship job, with the PF getting deducted. Hurt and humiliation in Delhi made me apply for the job and in June 2007. I cleared a rather tough interview and received a four page appointment letter at my brother’s residence.

This time again my father was happier than me. For the first time his son was getting a permanent job and to assure himself that I would not run away from the job, he again accompanied me to Dehradun.

The Institute of Management Studies, Dehradun was situated in the lush green area on the Dehradun–Mussoorrie road from where we could view the slope and lights of Mussoorrie. After my joining and finding a two bedroom accommodation my father had left for Noida and almost a week later my wife joined me to accompany me and to look after me. She, by then, had started understanding the problem which I had faced and I too had started listening to her. I had not been doing it so far.

We had a small department of Journalism and Mass Communication in which almost 180 students were enrolled and were taught by five faculties. All were either bachelors or newlywed or soon to be wed.

Tariq Intezar was a person who had never accepted defeat in his life. A cheerful person who had joined thein Department of Management he soon gained my confidence and became my closest friend. He had got beautiful voice and would sing ‘Gazals’ by putting his heart in to the song. He had finished his MBA from Aligarh Muslim University and was enrolled for a Ph.D.

Sushil Roy, a man with lots of information on current affairs, was the one who attracted my attention. He was my colleague in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. He had worked in media and was newlywed.

The other two people in the department were Sheel Nidhi Pandey and Vandita Tripathi. Both were the best at their area of expertise.

Dheeraj Shukla joined a couple of month later. A man who had worked in newspapers and was keenwould always to tell the stories from his family. A typically Banarsi person I often called him.

We had enough workload beyond the UGC guidelines and could would get a chance to interact with each other only in the lunch break or when college would be closed.

Traiq had been telling me stories from Aligarh and how he had a plan to go abroad after his Ph D would be over. He was one who had a very great taste about in nature and girls. He would often crack funny jokes on colleagues and even on students, but soon would become serious. Very inclined towards research activities, he presented his research paper in the conference organized by the Institute. We would, without any intention, walk towards the ‘Shiv Mandir’ on the upper sides of the road and would come down following the slopes on the both sides of road. Midway he would sing some Gazals or crack a joke on Dheeraj Shukla. Each evening me, Dheeraj and Tariq would go to Paltan Bazar to have ‘Bun Butter’ and Tariq would crack a joke on Dheeraj Shukla’s addiction for ‘Bun Butter’.

Soon, we discovered that we had a busy and productive life and more than this we had a workload which was going beyond our control. We had a director who was more than strict and was restless until he would not ask someone to put in his papers. Tariq would often call it ‘Fall of Wicket’.

And soon the person who cracked a joke on all of us became the heart of the institute. One day when Tariq and I were having refreshments, he was called by the director. I cracked a silly joke on him when he was going to meet the director.

‘Fall of All-rounder Tariq’s Wicket’…I commented not knowing that it was the truth. The director had called him to put in his papers and the reason he gave was that Tariq had debarred a student who was the ward of some trustee.

Traiq was a tough man but he did not say anything, he did not counter. When he was leaving, he said to me, ”Bas Itne din ki roji thi bhai” (It was a company of such few days , brother).

I was not finding Dehradun comfortable to me after Tariq had left. It appeared as if the charm, the beauty and the life had vanished from the institution.


I visited my brother in the summer of 2008 and got to know about Amity University which was expanding like a storm in the field of higher education. It had its head quarter in Noida and somehow I collected all my courage and decided to meet the Director of the communication Communication Department.

I was finding myself restless and uncomfortable in Dehradun and more over my wife was expecting. I was willing to relocate to Noida for both of our comfort. And hence, decided to go to meet to the Director of Amity School of Communication at Amity University.





Amity University, Uttar Pradesh is spread in 60 acres of land on the Yamuna Expressway, which connects Noida with Agra. It is said to be one of the finest private universities duly recognized by the state government and University Grant Commission. It now has NAAC accreditation.

Amity School of Communication is one of the premier media schools in the country which now has almost 1000 students on its roll, divided in the undergraduate, Post Graduate and Ph.D. programs.

The director of the school, a retired colonel of the Indian Army and a very disciplined man, was humble enough to give me an appointment. As the head of such a great media school he might have avoided to meeting me, but a man who knew the problems of young people gave me a chance to meet him in his office. This was a Saturday, when I went to meet him with a copy of resume. I was amazed to see a director working on Saturdays, when most of the staff and faculty were on leave. He went through my resume, asked me a couple of questions on my expertise, and instructed me to appear for a demo class.

My demo was on a Tuesday. A very optimistic me saw it as a chance to change my fate. The seven years detachment with the media hub city Delhi perhaps was gearing up to absorb me finally. I wiped off all the hurt and rejection which I had got in Delhi in 2002-2004, discussed it with my elder brother and my father, who by then had shifted his base to Noida.

On Tuesday I prepared a topic of my interest, as was suggested by the director, and went to the University. It was a working day and a dozen of faculty members were sitting to examine my expertise. I was given a half an hour time, and with all my confidence presented my lecture and answered the queries of the attendees to the best of my knowledge.


I returned to Dehradun and awaited the results. A month later I was told to face a top interview with the founder of the University, as was the culture at that time in July 2008. Initially, I was promised by the director that all would go well, and he advised me to be mentally prepared to relocate myself.

The Fonder founder of the University interacted with me in August, when he returned from a foreign trip, and finally approved my candidature to be a part of a big educational giant as a lecturer.

This was the turning point of my life, a historical moment for which I had waited for years while going through phases of disappointment and discourage. I would say the man who motivated me was the director and the person who encouraged me was my wife.

On 29th September I said fare welled to Dehradun and to IMS, and finally, along with the my father and furniture, which my father which carried my along with my luggage, I made my way to where a great and shining future was waiting for me. My wife had already come down to my brother’s residence in Noida as she was in her last month of pregnancy.

The next month of joining Amity was fruitful to me as my wife delivered a healthy baby boy on October 10, 2008. The birth of Pragun, as we call him, was the happiest moment of my life and, for all of us in my family.


Amity University as expected became a turning point in my life and in my academic career. And the guiding force behind whatever I did in post the debacle days in Delhi was my mentor-like director. He brought discipline in all of us at Amity School of Communication, he brought growth and he brought happiness on each one of our faces.

Now Amity School of Communication is perhaps the largest media school in the country and has got 45 faculty members teaching almost 1000 students at the undergraduate and post-graduate level.

We work like a family and we make a team of experienced and newer group of teachers. There are some who have lots of hope, there are some who have seen the changing face of Indian media by giving their contribution to it.

Prof Kalyan Chatterjee, in whom I saw an elder brother, is an encyclopaedia of knowledge. A man with a twisting tongue, he has served both national and regional media, and came into academics just to give a change to his life and career. His political knowledge is unparalleled, his wisdom unbeaten. I continuously learn from him while arguing with him, debating with him and cracking jokes with him.

In short, Amity gave me all that I needed and gave me the courage to defeat all the failure and hurt the people and city had given me in the past. A bright day and night full of lights is ahead waiting its wings to open for me and I am ready to see the glare of success on my face.



2012 AD: End of joblessness


In the last four years of stay I developed myself from a budding media academician to one who had continuously grown. I kept doing research and presented myself twenty five times in international conferences, obtained membership of one dozen international bodies and took the responsibilities adhered to me by my University. It was a continuous learning process from colleagues, staff and family. The year 2012, which was predicted by some Mayan civilization to be the end of our world became a success for me and I attended four workshops and conferences of NASA. I was enlightened to be part of the International Space Station workshop and the Mars landing of Curiosity rover. In all of the rest of the conferences they clarified the false news of the end of the world on December 21 , 2012:


Dec 21,2012 – A Scientific Reality Check (A NASA clarification)


There apparently is a great deal of interest in celestial bodies, and their locations and trajectories at the end of the calendar year 2012. Now, I for one love a good book or movie as much as the next guy. But the stuff flying around through cyberspace, TV and the movies is not based on science. There is even a fake NASA news release out there… So here is the scientific reality on the celestial happenings in the year 2012.

Nibiru, a purported large object headed toward Earth, simply put – does not exist. There is no credible evidence – telescopic or otherwise – for this object’s existence. There is also no evidence of any kind for its gravitational effects upon bodies in our solar system.

I do however like the name Nibiru. If I ever get a pet goldfish (and I just may do that sometime in early 2013), Nibiru will be at the top of my list.

The Mayan calendar does not end in December 2012. Just as the calendar you have on your kitchen wall does not cease to exist after December 31, the Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period, but then – just as your calendar begins again on January 1 – another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar.


On December 16, 1992, 8 days after its encounter with Earth, the Galileo spacecraft looked back from a distance of about 6.2 million kilometers (3.9 million miles) to capture this remarkable view of the Moon in orbit about Earth. Image credit: NASA/JPL.


There are no credible predictions for worrisome astronomical events in 2012. The activity of the sun is cyclical with a period of roughly 11 years and the time of the next solar maximum is predicted to occur about May 2013. However, the Earth routinely experiences these periods of increased solar activity – for eons – without worrisome effects. The Earth’s magnetic field, which deflects charged particles from the sun, does reverse polarity on time scales of about 400,000 years but there is no evidence that a reversal, which takes thousands of years to occur, will begin in 2012. Even if this several thousand year-long magnetic field reversal were to begin, that would not affect the Earth’s rotation nor would it affect the direction of the Earth’s rotation axis… only Superman can do that.

The only important gravitational tugs experienced by the Earth are due to the moon and sun. There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades, Earth will not cross the galactic plane in 2012, and even if these alignments were to occur, their effects on the Earth would be negligible. Each December the Earth and Sun align with the approximate center of the Milky Way Galaxy but that is an annual event of no consequence.

The predictions of doomsday or dramatic changes on December 21, 2012 are all false. Incorrect doomsday predictions have taken place several times in each of the past several centuries. Readers should bear in mind what Carl Sagan noted several years ago; “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

For any claims of disaster or dramatic changes in 2012, the burden of proof is on the people making these claims. Where is the science? Where is the evidence? There is none, and all the passionate, persistent and profitable assertions, whether they are made in books, movies, documentaries or over the Internet, cannot change that simple fact. There is no credible evidence for any of the assertions made in support of unusual events taking place in December 2012.


Decemeber 22,2012: 07:30 AM : I woke up in my newly purchased house. My wife was sleeping alongside me, while my four year old son was in her lap. Like me everyone else woke up healthy with the new sunrays shining bright above our heads. Like me, we all were ready to welcome a new dawn, a new morning and a new hope for all of us. The world had not ended and there was a new beginning for each one of us.


I tried to believe that I had done quite enough in the last four years. The phase of failure had been wiped off. Delhi had given me a new hope, a new morning, a new day and I was ready to accept it. It was an end to my joblessness and not the end of the world.






Ratnesh Dwivedi

Ratnesh Dwivedi is a seasoned Academician, Author, Journalist, NASA Certified Educator and Consultant with 15 plus years in teaching and corporate. He has seen the changing face of global politics and has written extensively on International Affairs.

He serves on board of a dozen global firms ranging from Mining, Oil & Gas, Electricity, Energy, Cyber Security, Intelligence, Defence and Counter Terrorism having the finest people from the corporate world and Goverment onboard.

He holds memberships with global organizations such as ECREA-Brussels, Mission Essential-Virginia, Global Ethics Network-Washington, American Astronomical Society-Washington, Internet Society-Virginia, CSIS-PONI-Washington, RTDNA-Washington, NSTA-Virginia, EIN News Desk, Bush Presidential Center, Texas, etc.

He has authored five books. The Story of an Intern is a Reportage, The Cosmic Mask is a Space Fiction, Third and fourth are awarded academic books. His fifth book, US Intelligence and Cost of War talks about USA Military engagements in the Middle East.

Editor review


No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.