The Space Fair offered exciting activities including gravity experiment and sky theatre
KARACHI: The eagerness to expand their knowledge about space sciences gathered students from different schools and colleges to the myriads of stalls set up at Pakistan Air Force Museum for the Space Fair on Saturday evening.
The Space Fair is part of the World Space Week being celebrated across the world and was organised by the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (Suparco) in Pakistan.
The stall that remained the centre-of-attention among the student fraternity, comprising mainly engineers and science students, was the one experimenting with micro-gravity. Two similar machines, known as ‘clinostats’ were put on display. The machine uses its rotation to negate the effects of the gravitational pull on plant growth and development.
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“The United Nations donated one clinostat to Pakistan for the sole purpose of research”, said Wasiq Anwar, an electronics student. “However, the other one is a replica created by Suparco.”
The machines basically study the movement of a plant once it is exposed to zero gravity, as it is in space, explained Irshadullah, Suparco’s assistant manager. “Normally, when a plant develops on earth, it is the downward pull of the gravitational forces that restricts the growth of the shoot.” But in the absence of gravity, we saw that the plant grows in random directions, he said. There is no unilateral growth as it happens on the earth, he added.
Diamonds in the sky
Students also performed skits and situational acts based on the theme of space sciences for the Sky theatre segment. Volunteers were selected to perform ‘charades’ (a popular word guessing game in which people enact the words) on topics of mathematics, science and physics.
A young volunteer from Mama Parsi School was dared to imagine herself on earth, on the moon and on different planets with greater and lesser gravity than earth. Her impeccable execution resulted in quick bursts of laughter as she pulled one stunt after the other.
Another standout was the skit presented by Beaconhouse School System students. The actors depicted the concept of time travel. The main protagonist, Alexander, travels from an older time to 2015. Alexander is in continuous awe and shock as he comes across people taking pouting ‘selfies’ and mistakes if for a person choking at first. Then, another character, Johnny, travels to 2115. It was the quick jump in the year 2115 that was indeed ‘a moment of amazement’ as technology was rendered to be the solution and source of everything, even ordering a baby from the Heaven, and having them delivered right in your arms!
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2015.