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Unlocking the Power of Curiosity: Reading About Bennu

You can either talk about the news and share facts or you can use a small bit of information, think about it, ask questions and then find reading material to answer the questions. Which approach works better?


Can you imagine a piece of an asteroid on earth? You may ask how is it possible in the first place. But if it is possible, what would it be like?

These questions can have a variety of answers, out of which there may or may not be a right answer as most of us can only imagine an asteroid based on photos we have seen and none of us at the Young Readers' Club, work at NASA. Given this, there is ample room to dream and imagine what we feel like. In the process, we learn new facts and learn to forget preconceived notions.

Reading about Bennu.

An asteroid representation

Bennu is a huge asteroid which is said to have broken off from a carbon rich asteroid from the Jupiter and Saturn belt and has been floating towards earth. Scientists at NASA believe that the components of this asteroid is so old that it may have clues to explain the origin of life on earth.

A wide variety of questions came up from the members of the Young Readers' Club.

"Where is this asteroid now?"

"Oh this is the one that is headed towards earth. It may collide with earth in the next 100 or 200 years or so! We will be gone by then."

When we saw images that compared the size of Bennu with some of the tallest buildings in the world,

"Is it bigger than the Burj Khalifa?"

"No the Burj Khalifa is about 830ms but the asteroid is about 500ms"

"I found a news source that says otherwise."

"Which source is right?"

"It depends on the reliability of the source."

"If this could explain origin of life on earth, how does one study it?"

To find answers to all these fascinating questions, we began an extensive search for information. We read about how NASA had sent a capsule into space. The purpose was to collect a sample from this asteroid and bring it back. The mission lasted 7 long years. The capsule returned to earth recently.

Together, we watched a video that showed a helicopter arriving in Utah desert where the capsule landed. We heard the scientists speak about the mission and how they were feeling at the site, about to uncover an object from space.

Contemplation after reading and watching the news about Bennu.

"What would it feel like to work hard on a mission and wait for 7 long years, watching every move day in and day out and finally seeing all that hard work payoff?"

Thinking about that question, we learnt a lot.

  • Science is about being curious, experimenting, working hard, persevering and above all plenty of patience.

  • The joy of wondering.

  • Hope and anticipation for fascinating information to emerge in the future.

  • Possibly a big clue to how life first formed on earth.

There may be many unanswered questions still waiting to be answered. But the seed of curiosity has been sown.


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Both weekday and weekend batches are available at the Young Readers' Club for the 8-12 age group.

NEW!  Writing programs for the 8-12 age group- Young Writers' Club Jr.  

The Young Writers' Club program for the 13-15 age group offers a weekly platform to read and discuss curated articles from the news, observe writing approaches and practise one's writing skills.

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