Open Space Foundation’s Luna Camp 2023, a state-level lunar expedition program designed for the bright young minds of Tamil Nadu was on December 2, 2023, at SNS Academy International CBSE School, Coimbatore, the event was a culmination of anticipation and innovation.
Luna Camp 2023 emerged as the pinnacle after the successful Luna Talent Test, the initial screening conducted at the school level. The subsequent Luna Innovation Challenge, organized at the district level, saw the participation of 204 students from 108 schools across 29 districts. Among them, 70 exceptional students, comprising 35 girls and 35 boys, secured their spot for the grand Luna Camp 2023.
The event kicked off at 10:00 am with a formal inauguration graced by Ms. Anupama Pradeepan, Co-founder of OSF, and Dr. S. Nalin Vimal Kumar, The Native Design Thinker, SNS Institutions, as esteemed guests of honour. Following it a telescope construction workshop ensued, where students crafted their own Rr-40NDS Telescopes. OSF team members, Mr. Aazhi Mukilan and Ms. Krithika Krishnan, guided the students, unraveling the intricate world of optics and telescope construction. Simultaneously, teachers engaged in an interactive session led by Ms. Anupama Pradeepan on "How to Involve Research & Technology Development?"—an insightful exploration into career paths for their students.
The construction of telescopes was not just a mechanical exercise but it was a journey of understanding the play of optics and the significance of telescopes in astronomy. The students, filled with excitement, took their telescopes outdoors to test them on distant celestial objects. Many experienced their first-ever telescopic observations, contributing to an atmosphere of joy and curiosity. Following it an interactive session for both students and teachers led by Mr. Bharathkumar Velusamy provided insights into the usage and incredible possibilities of telescopes.
The afternoon unfolded with a vibrant Luna Innovation exhibition, showcasing models, charts, and posters representing the innovative ideas submitted by the students during the Luna Innovation Challenge. Each exhibit conveyed a futuristic and imaginative perspective on lunar exploration, leaving observers in awe of the creativity of these young minds.
The much-anticipated "Meet the Scientist" program featured Prof. Elangovan Rajagopalan, a former ISRO Scientist and Advisor at Space Ocean Corporation, United States. Prof. Elangovan shared captivating insights into space exploration and his experiences as a scientist at ISRO. The students, brimming with curiosity, interacted with him, presenting their Luna Innovation Challenge ideas and delving into discussions about the practicality and potential advancements of their proposals.
A momentous segment of the event involved the felicitation of the 70 winners of the Luna Innovation Challenge. Certificates were awarded, and the telescopes constructed by the students were presented to them. The event concluded with a group photograph capturing not only the presence of the young scientific minds but also the happiness emanating from holding their self-crafted telescopes—a symbol of their exploration journey at Luna Camp 2023.
Luna Camp 2023 left an enduring impact, with students and teachers expressing their eagerness to share the acquired knowledge with their peers and communities. The event not only celebrated scientific curiosity but also highlighted the commitment of OSF to making the sky accessible to all. As the young participants departed, the echoes of their enthusiasm resonated, promising a future where the wonders of the universe are within reach for everyone.