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NASA denies of awarding any internship to Indian teen

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Kolkata: US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) denied the claim of an Indian girl named Sataparna Mukherjee. She had claimed that she is selected for the prestigious Goddard Internship Program (GIP) under the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). The girl is still sticking to her stand.

Eighteen-year-old suburban West Bengal resident Sataparna Mukherjee has attested to being the “youngest Indian to have been chosen for a NASA research project”.

The resident of Madhyamgram in North 24 Parganas district claimed in an interview to the agency that the space agency had offered her a full scholarship to pursue graduation, post-graduation, and PhD (as NASA faculty) in aerospace engineering at its “London Astrobiology Centre in Oxford University.”

In an e-mail to the agency, a NASA official clarified: “We have no record of anyone by that name receiving an internship, scholarship or any form of academic or financial assistance from any NASA institute, center or program.”

Further the official highlighted: “The program noted by multiple Indian media outlets does not exist.”

The agency said its NASA GISS education program is the New York City Research Initiative (NYCRI), “where teams of high school and undergraduate students and faculty work alongside graduate students and the lead scientists of NASA-funded research projects at universities within a 50-mile radius of New York City…, or at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) under the mentorship of a GISS scientist.”

NASA said the NYCRI application deadline has just passed and applications for its summer program were currently under review. “Selections have not been made.”

However, an unfazed Mukherjee, who claims she is scheduled to leave for Britain in August, maintains she has the necessary documents to prove her assertions.

Mukherjee had earlier sent a screenshot to the agency of a purported correspondence from the space agency stating “Goddard Internship program as an employee and researcher. Technical writing for NASA’s Applied Earth Science and Technology Development Program.”

Quizzed on NASA’s reaction, Mukherjee said that the agency was issuing denials to maintain confidentiality.

“I have the necessary documents and I can’t send them via mail as I was asked by NASA to maintain confidentiality. I also have my visa. You can come and see them.”

On the widespread media coverage and the interviews she willingly appeared for, the student said she was “forced by media channels” to tell her story.

“Since I am the only Indian selected, I was asked to maintain confidentiality. They (NASA) are denying it now because it’s in the news now.”

Mukherjee has maintained she had posted a paper on NASA’s website on black hole theory which landed her the scholarship. She had also talked about getting through an exam (as one of top three scorers) for doing major in English at the Oxford University. However, even after repeated requests, she failed to provide documentary evidence.

Media reports have quoted Sataparna as saying she verified the authenticity of the NASA website at the Chennai office of the British Council.

However, the British Council termed the claims as “false”.

“British Council would like to refute and condemn false claims as they are baseless and without any premise. As per our records, nobody with this stated identity visited or contacted our office in Chennai,” a British Council official said over e-mail.(IANS)

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Parker Solar Probe of NASA Sends Back its First Images

The Parker Solar Probe's first close approach to the Sun will be in November

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NASA
NASA's Parker Solar Probe sends back first images. Flickr

Just over a month into its seven-year mission to touch the Sun, NASA Parker Solar Probe has beamed back the first-light data from each of its four instrument suites, the US space agency said.

On September 9, Wide-field Imager for Solar Probe’s (WISPR) — the only imager on the probe — door was opened, allowing the instrument to take the first images during its journey to the Sun.

WISPR with both its inner and outer telescope snapped a blue-toned, two-panel image of space with stars visible throughout.

While the Sun is not visible in the image, it showed Jupiter.

Launched on August 12, Parker Solar Probe, NASA historic small car-sized probe will journey steadily closer to the Sun, until it makes its closest approach at 3.8 million miles.

“All instruments returned data that not only serves for calibration, but also captures glimpses of what we expect them to measure near the Sun to solve the mysteries of the solar atmosphere, the corona,” said Nour Raouafi, the probe’s project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University in Laurel, Maryland.

NASA
This is NASA’s Latest achievement. Pixabay

While these early data are not yet examples of the key science observations that the probe is expected to transmit in December, it shows that each of its four instrument suites are working well.

The probe also sent data back from its three other instruments on board: ISoIS, FIELDS and SWEAP which are all dedicated to unravelling the mysteries of the Sun.

ISoIS’s (pronounced “ee-sis” and includes the symbol for the Sun in its acronym) two Energetic Particle Instruments — EPI-Lo and EPI-Hi — cover a range of energies for these activity-driven particles.

EPI-Lo’s initial data shows background cosmic rays, particles that were energised and came rocketing into our solar system from elsewhere in the galaxy.

Data from EPI-Hi shows detections of both hydrogen and helium particles from its lower-energy telescopes.

The FIELDS’ four electric field antennas on the front of the probe observed the signatures of a solar flare, while the SWEAP’s (Solar Wind Electrons Alphas and Protons), three instruments caught glimpses of the solar wind.

NASA
Launched on August 12, Parker Solar Probe, NASA’s historic small car-sized probe will journey steadily closer to the Sun, until it makes its closest approach at 3.8 million miles. Pixabay

The Parker Solar Probe’s first close approach to the Sun will be in November.

Over the next two months, it will fly towards Venus, performing its first Venus gravity assist in early October.

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Throughout its mission, the probe will make six more Venus flybys and 24 total passes by the Sun.

The probe is named after Eugene Parker, a solar physicist, who in 1958 first predicted the existence of the solar wind, a stream of charged particles and magnetic fields that flow continuously from the Sun. (IANS)