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School girl builds satellite to study air pollution

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K A Villet Oviya, a plus two student awaiting her results and now preparing for NEET has built a light-weight satellite which will study the effects of air pollution and global warming in various regions including major cities in Tamil Nadu. The satellite ANITHA-SAT, named after Anitha, the student who committed suicide last for not able to clear her NEET exam, is a conical-shaped capsule which will take off in a helium balloon from Mexico city on May 6. The satellite, which is built with the help of industry experts and the support of NGOs will carry sensors to measure various parameters like temperature, pressure, air quality and the concentration of gases including carbon monoxide and also fitted with GPS for positioning, gyro-meter and accelerometer to measure orientation and angular speed, barometer to measure the height and a camera to live telecast this mission. The data transmitted from the satellite will be received in the ground station at Aztra labs, Mexico city. Though Oviya is busy preparing for NEET exams, she claims that the motivation to do something was inspired by late President APJ Abdul kalaam.

The satellite will also be fitted with GPS for positioning, gyrometer and accelerometer to measure orientation and angular speed, barometer to measure the height and a camera to live telecast the mission. The data will be transmitted to the ground station at Aztra Labs in Mexico City. Once the balloon gets close to the uppermost layer of the earth’s atmosphere, the balloon would explode and the capsule will begin its descent. A parachute would be deployed when the capsule reaches around 8,000m from sea level. After it falls in the sea, the satellite would be recovered.

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“The gas sensor, which is fitted in the satellite, will measure the concentration of various gases like oxygen, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide layer-wise in the atmosphere,” Oviya said and added that the data could be utilised by governments to come up with measures to curb air pollution.

For Oviya, who is now busy preparing for NEET exam, it was her short stint as a participant in a reality TV show identifying budding scientists, E7ham Arivu, three years back that motivated her to come up with the idea of building a satellite.

The turning point came when she got a chance to present one of her projects, smart irrigation system, to late President A P J Abdul Kalam. “I wanted to do something to create awareness about air pollution. My love for electrical and electronics drove me further to conceptualise Anitha-SAT,” said Oviya, who is awaiting her Class XII result.

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