TO EARTH AND BACK By Arjun Paartha

Musha! (Hello in alien language) I am ‘Star Sabre’ an alien robot from planet ‘Infitron’. I transform into a blue and silver space rocket for interstellar space travel.

Wish me luck as I prepare for take-off from planet Earth in a few minutes…just enough time to tell you about my space saga that brought me here:

It must be eons ago when I started on my first science mission in space named ‘Lab Alpha’ to set up a space laboratory to support advanced scientific research on our planet. The mission was nearing completion and I was totally focussed on the final tasks, while some space debris was approaching me at an incredible 25,000 kilometres per hour! What happened next was a collision that left me badly damaged. I quickly realized my navigation system had developed a snag as I could not manoeuvre myself in any particular direction. It was dark, empty and lonely as I drifted away in space….

I don’t remember how long I was a space hobo till I suddenly felt a strong pull towards a beautiful blue planet (which I later came to know as Earth). I felt relieved, happy, scared, and nervous – all at the same time! By the power of Shiloh (The ‘Supreme Force’ on my home planet), I had a pretty smooth landing on a sandy beach that wore a dark, deserted look. With near empty fuel tanks and low battery charge, I just about managed to transform into my robot self. Darkness gave way to light as a big, hot star shone brightly in the sky (I came to know it is called the Sun). My battery pack started to charge using the energy from the star. I ran a complete scan on myself – my framework, my engine, my fuel tanks, my rocket boosters, my weapons, my communication system and my on board navigation system. The report was far from satisfactory – my structure was dented due to the impact of the collision, my fuel tanks were near empty as I had floated away from my galaxy and my communication and on board navigation systems were dysfunctional due to circuitry damages. The situation seemed hopeless! How would I get back home?

Just then I saw a human with a smile on his face that was framed by silver curls of hair. He was strolling on the beach and heading in my direction. I cannot explain why, but I felt deep inside me that this human was my ray of hope and my worries started waning. So, I walked confidently towards him. He embraced me and said ‘What can I do to help you?’ This human was a picture of compassion as the whole Earth knew him to be….he was none other than Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam – one of the greatest space scientists of India (as I eventually came to know)!

He took me under his wings during my time on Earth. We travelled to Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. It is a rocket launch centre operated by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). I could not have asked for a better place to be in. Being surrounded by the best space scientists, engineers and technicians gave me a boost of confidence that I will be back home soon. They worked tirelessly to first analyse the problems I was facing and then came up with innovative solutions to fix them. Dr. Kalam personally supervised the efforts and gave brilliant advice to the special team that was formed with a mission to get me back home safely.

The four pillars of strength for this task force were hard work, determination, knowledge and perseverance. At the helm was Dr. Kalam motivating his team as he said ‘We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us.’ There were hits and misses along the way, but with an inspirational leader like Dr. Kalam, we all learnt to take things in our stride as he rightly pointed out ‘Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success.’

While I was in safe hands, I thought about my fellow robots on Infitron. We are a close-knit fraternity and they must be worried sick about me. With my communication system down, there was no way to get in touch with them. But I was hopeful of reaching them soon.

The easiest part was refuelling since I was in a space station after all. The next thing that was fixed was my structure – I was as good as new with a brand new framework and a shiny finish. The circuits were the hardest to rebuild and required many rounds of testing. I will never forget Dr. Kalam’s words of inspiration when the team seemed dejected with a failed attempt. He said ‘Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.’ They steadily inched towards success. The persistent efforts paid off and my communication and on board navigation systems were not only fixed but enhanced! I am so excited to be able to showcase all my new capabilities at Infitron.

With my communication system in order, I made my first contact with Infitron and let them know that I was fine and will start my journey back as soon as possible. My on board navigation system is now programmed to guide me back to Infitron. I just realized that my galaxy is many, many light years away. Each light year is around 10 trillion kilometres! It is going to be a lonely voyage but I am eagerly looking forward to my destination – my home, Infitron.

I am in space rocket form and rev up my engine. I sadly bid goodbye to the friends I have made on Earth, particularly the humble ‘Missile Man of India’- Dr. Kalam. It was an honour knowing you sir. The countdown begins – 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. My engine develops enough power and the thrust force pushes me upward into the sky. I reach escape velocity of 40,000 kilometres per hour and break away from the pull of Earth’s gravity.

My space odyssey has begun with renewed energy and anticipation as I speed away in space. Time flies and I am overwhelmed to see Infitron on the horizon. I have never felt happier being back home….

Author’s Details

Name – Arjun Paartha

Class – 5th

School – Inventure Academy, Bangalore.

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