Your child's ticket to NASA

IF your child wants to become an astronaut, here is a golden chance Nickelodeon is hosting a contest for selection of a few kids for a 10-day curriculum at the Kennedy Space Centre, Orlando, later this year. The initiative is part of the channel's new annual property that will identify unusual vocations most kids want to pursue, and give them a chance to live their passion. 

An online poll on suggested that maximum children in India wish to be astronauts, and so the channel has decided to give them an opportunity to explore the world of space sciences at NASA. "We were pleasantly surprised to know that 43 per cent children want to become astronauts, followed by 25 per cent children who wish to become doctors... careers like teaching and being artists were all in single digits," Nina Elavia Jaipuria, senior vice- president and general manager, Nickelodeon India, told IANS. "Not many Indians, with the exception of Kalpana Chawla, Rakesh Sharma and Sunita Williams, have made it big as astronauts... so it will be nice if some children could go there and experience the life of an astronaut. Who knows, they could be working there someday," she added.

So what do the kids have to do to stand a chance? "They have to write a 150-word-essay on 'I want to be an astronaut because `85' Our expert panel will review the entries and choose a minimum of three kids, who will get to go with their parents to the Kennedy Space Centre," added Jaipuria.

At the NASA headquarters, the children will be meeting a real life astronaut, understand how a space centre works, and be on a simulation ride in a mock space shuttle, among other things. The channel has also tied up with US-based company Discovery Dome to set up mobile planetarium in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai to give children an insight into some astronomical films. IANS