As soon as the bell rang, all the students enjoying tiffin in the canteen, rushed to the auditorium to continue the leftover session of a guest lecture by Dr. S Bose, an astrophysicist of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After all the insistence, Dr Bose agreed to visit today for the noble deed of propagation of scientific attitude, to inculcate interest to study astrophysics and explain the possibilities of life on planets other than the Earth. The lecture was organized by alumni of Don Bosco public school, Kolkata.
The audience re-assembled again to have a patient hearing on the topics of astrophysics. Actually, of late, the subject had generated huge interest amongst the Indian audience after the success of Kalpana Chawla & Sunita Williams.
The euphoria on the feat of astronauts had actually induced many of the audience, who was turned out to be a Ph.D. scholar, to study it elaborately. Hence, the lecture of Dr. S. Bose on the subject “Astrophysics, an opportunity for mankind” was shot in the arm for the inquisitive students. Moreover, Dr S Bose was also credited with the discovery of a planet which may, one day, be considered to be hot-favorite amongst the space-explorer. He had named it “KSR25“. This tiny planet, initially, was reported to have some sign of life. Moreover, there was a report that its surface bears certain marks caused by streamline movement of fluid.
Dr. Bose in his forenoon session had basically focussed on “Astrophysics, an opportunity but post-lunch, he started deliberating on challenges ahead in the Space sciences. During the interaction, he was briefed on the fact that there are many prospective candidates who, on given opportunity, can show a profound interest in the subject and become a proud astronaut. Dr. Bose, very enthusiastically asked, “Those, who are interested may raise their hands.” In response, there were 15(fifteen) hands which rose out of twenty-five students at interaction. They were told by Dr Bose to get ready for a test. The test was taken immediately and there were 10(ten) of them, who was found possessing robust knowledge of space science. Coincidentally, this was the right time of the year, when application-form are sought by the NASA from desired candidates. Being an honorary member, Dr Bose had the luxury to give reference of 05 students for its mission. On culmination of lecture, Dr Bose took their identification sheet and left for hotel informing the selected few that since final-test is held online, there is nothing to bother about. The next day he was to take off for the USA.
Eventually, a test was organized and five got shortlisted for specially designed training for the space mission. Very soon training commenced which trainees grabbed with both hand devoting their precious time understanding, conceptualizing the nitty-gritty of space-sciences and geography of ‘KSR25’. It took nearly two years in imparting a complete set of information about this tiny planet.
The candidates, now, were full of potential and ready to become an astronaut for the sake of mankind. Later on, it was decided by NASA that the forthcoming mission will witness contribution of total 10 members-only i.e researchers named Monty( Chief-de-mission), Sagun, Budha, Gurukiran & Venus with one assistant each.
It was decided that selected person on a mission, be all together for next three months sharing their thoughts, developing friendship, adaptation, and acclimatization of the ecosystem maintained in the space-shuttle and getting abreast of peculiarities involving Biological, physical, psychological phenomenon. Accordingly, they were called to Florida, a permanent air-base for space-shuttle to undergo such co-inhabitation. Now ten members constituted one family under the umbrella of which they have to perform research during the space mission. They started sharing the room. Initially, there was some sort of gender-feeling which got engulfed by each passing day of the sojourn so did the hostility amongst them. It indeed needs of the hour to develop bonding up to such a level that there would not be an iota of differences on board the spaceflight.
Eventually, the days arrived. It was Thursday, 05th of October 2017, 2 AM when Gurukiran woke up abruptly with a nightmare. In the dream, it appeared before him that he had reached a place where one can’t act as per their requirements amidst difficulties all around. There was a lot of hooliganism out there as the original dwellers chase the strangers. The thought of being trapped somewhere, where you don’t have the capability to do things conveniently, had actually frightened him profoundly. He got up from the bed and went to Venus to alert her. On finding Gurukiran very fearful, she enquired, “What happened Guru? Are you okay? Go and have a sleep as we have to be in a very sound state of mind before boarding the spacecraft. Hesitatingly, Gurukiran returned to bed and within minutes became unconscious.
Next day everybody got ready and presented themselves before the control. The countdown for takeoff had already started. The astronauts were nostalgic as all the core members were from India with support assistant from other continents. They were directed to enter the shuttle. The spaceflight was to take off at 11 O’clock GMT and the total journey time was ascertained as 26 hours. The countdown timer indicated 100…99…98.. & so on. The shuttle was ready to take off now. Finally, countdown reached 1 & 0 and shuttle blasted off.
Within minutes, the spacecraft reached the desired altitude tending towards zenith to land on the planet named ‘KSR25’. The astronauts were happiest men as they were traversing the path, which on successful completion, may bring glory not only to India but the whole mankind as the space exploration despite being in force since decades, has not yielded desired result much to cherish. Hence, this mission was expected to bring cheer to the space scientist like Dr S Bose who was yet to bid adieu the concern of ‘life beyond earth’. Additionally, it was the only mission where the place destined, is of very shorter duration. For information, Apollo-11 took 76 hours to reach the moon. Since the destined place is only around 4,60,000 km away from earth i.e adjacent to the moon, it was expected the same set of rules to be followed to this mission too. Total flight-time was ascertained as 26 hours only because of the enhanced feature enabling it to cross over the destination within 20 hours but since it was manned mission and considering the peculiarity of possible radiation emanating out from its surface, it was decided to delay the landing to safeguard the mission. It was indeed a very surprise catch for scientists to trace the possible habitat so near to earth.
Finally, the spacecraft entered the orbit of ‘KSR25’. The astronauts got ready to land astutely considering the radiation threat looming large. Within seconds, shuttle nosedived and landed safely. They disembarked themselves at 11 AM, 07th October 2017, Saturday and immediately started working on projects assigned. This step was an endeavour to explore the natural habitat.
As soon as they stepped out, they were ecstatic to observe that there was wind blowing across the planet. It was enough for alacrity when one was in the exploration of habitat. Hardly two hours had spent when Buddha went little inside for jaywalking alongside Sagun. While moving along the narrow terrain, Sagun noticed some marks alike footprints. She drew his attention and exclaimed, “Hey Buddha! See some marks are there. Does life exist here? The marks don’t give inference of radiation or cosmic phenomenon. It seems to be a footprint of some organisms. No sooner did they involve in little chit-chat over some connecting device like a transponder, they received a message that some creatures having all the organs alike human, had attacked the makeshift station. It was also communicated to Sagun-Buddha that though they resemble like us physically but their modes of communication are completely different. Their body emits some rays which are so powerful that it has destroyed the transponders of quite a few fellow mates. Hence we are required to be doubly protective. At one side we have to be conscious of radiation emitted by the surface of this planet, on the other side we have to fight the lethal attack from the dwellers. It is now, beyond doubt that there has been some civilization here.
Taking clue to their stride, Sagun-Buddha returned to base. On hearing the development from astronauts, scientists started rejoicing the events and seen thumping own back but suddenly reminded of the fact that astronauts in the mission would be facing difficulties in protecting themselves. The top scientist called an emergency meeting and decided to give direction to the astronauts to raise their protection level up to optimum level by utilizing the resources.
The astronauts on the mission huddled together and decided to initiate the work gradually after putting on the safety gear. The first day passed by experiencing life-threatening danger. They decided to pack off for the day and went to take rest. The next day more surprise was in store as nobody was able to do anything, as if, all the sense organs had become completely numb compelling them to hang around at the same place where they were at previous night. The days set-in so was the scenarios. Next morning on Monday, they felt everything is okay but unable to see around. It was still panic all around. The sense organs which had become numb previous day had recouped barring vision. How important is the sightedness was never even dreamt of? However, aliens continued the vicious attack and damaged their shelter compelling to move at the place in the vicinity. But very soon, Monty, being M.Tech(EEE) raised the negative charge on the body caricature of all the members on a mission. It was befitting reply to the lethal rays aliens were emitting towards them. Because of the high voltage charge from another end, ‘aliens’ went helter-skelter and fled away. The next day morning was 4th day and there was no significant outcome so far in the research except direct evidence of life. The team leader, Monty decided to intimate the fellow companions to get ready for the next endeavour and allotted 5 days to complete. But next surprise was also waiting in the gallery. Despite all efforts to communicate through ear-phone, nothing was audible and same was the case for others too. It was third days in-trot when the mission had developed biological-snag leading to sense-organs. The first day being Sunday, nobody knew what had happened as nothing else was comprehensible which is still mystic. Next day, being Monday, the astronauts lost vision and were, therefore, unable to visualize turbulent phenomenon. Hence control de mission was informed of a new menace leading to weakening of sense organs. In response, the control requested the astronauts to send physical appearance and quantify the radiation and the rays emanating out from the “aliens”. The crew had a high-end automatic camera which had, in fact, captured the movement of “aliens’ its rays. Its radiation power was also got calculated by the specially-designed-costume which astronauts only wear. Finding both, Monty sends the requisitioned data. On further analysis of the data, scientists came to the conclusion that “aliens” have chemical weapons in the form of rays, which on release, encapsulate the brain cells which control the vision, auditory nerves, olfactory nerves and so on. Conclusively, views were briefed to the astronauts and directed not to move beyond their confinement where research is going on about life sustainability, adaptability, and feasibility etc.
Next day was Wednesday and as signalled there was a high chance of olfactory going haywire as well, as, in all previous 3 days, one or other sense organs failed to justify their utility. Hence fearing the turn of taste-buds, everybody decided not to taste food that day and avoid getting stung by the taste buds. Now the team had only three days left to complete the project work assigned at ‘KSR25’. The next day aliens attacked with full force with a chemical weapon like Gas. It was not at all observed by any of the astronauts. The chemical-gas which aliens released was, in fact, very pungent and how to utilize up to the best of its efficiency and affect the Mission from Earth was only known to them and astronauts were not trained in this regard. Moreover, there was a double-whammy to the astronaut as owing to the properties, the gas could neither be seen nor be touched, only its odour could be smelled. But the numbness of sense-organs on daily basis made olfactory-nerves weak up to such level that astronauts couldn’t smell gas which was released and as a result 6 out of 10 fell sick.
Finding aliens’ retaliation very scathing, Monty got frightened and pleaded before the control to let them wind up the mission and let them return back home unhurt, else there are high chances of shuttle getting destroyed which may be detrimental to the physical presence of astronauts who despite all odds have still gumption of sailing through the chemical-battle. But that’s immaterial when one is under siege.
Fearing nervousness and physical breakdown of the astronauts, control huddled second time in a week to decide the future course. But unfazed by the development, the control decided to hang around three more days and gave a clear indication to them asserting that in order to achieve big, we are required to think positively and patriotically. But the moment directives came, the clock had already struck 00:00 Hrs i.e midnight and owing to the reason of degradation of cranial capacity, the astronauts had already lost sentiments. Hence all the directives on patriotic line fell flat and the crew decided unilaterally to pack off and therefore detached the re-paired shuttle. But by then, gruesome attack by aliens had already snatched Venus & Buddha from them. They succumbed to death. Eventually, space shuttle touched earth on Sunday, 15.10.2017 at 02 AM.
In the meantime, there was pandemonium all around the control at Florida Air-base when astronauts negated the directives of the control. However, when the spacecraft took off from the planet, the control was consulted and therefore, hell broke loose sometimes back regained hope and optimism.
On touching the earth, Monty went before the control and explained the topsy-turvy of the journey. It was enough to turn the control on & ecstatic. They, further, praised the way the astronauts rescued themselves from the Aliens’ ‘Niche’ where nothing was favourable except high confidence mixed with astute experience & intelligence.
But Dr S Bose was seen cherishing as the purpose of the visit was achieved the very moment, when the mission experienced the wind and Aliens came forward to attack. He urged everybody to bow their head to salute the brave warriors of mankind, who died in harness executing the assigned task for the upliftment of none other than mankind. Though NASA termed this mission as ‘successful’ in establishing the contention of Dr S. Bose put forth long long ago that the part of the planet is habitable for mankind but for the time being, the newfound ‘niche’ is undesirable as it needs some corrective measures necessitating the natural-habitat.