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Space simulator to add zing to planetarium in Odisha capital


Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jul 14:

The Pathani Samanta planetarium in Odisha’s capital city plans to introduce a space simulator to bring the experience of space to science lovers.

pathani samant planetarium

The proposed simulator would be set up at the new information center building of the planetarium within the next few months, sources said. While the ground floor of this three-storey, 18000 sq. ft. building will house the atomic energy center, the upper two floors will be reserved for astronomy and astrophysics.

“The space simulator is like a bus with 16 or 32 seats. This would be capable of giving the common man an experience of space. The shows are usually 5-7 minutes long. As of now, there are only 2-3 centers in the country that offer this facility. We are setting up this center to attract those visitors who go back due to lack of seats in the planetarium,” said deputy Director of the Planetarium Suvendu Patnaik.

“We would call for a worldwide tender to set it up. We expect the project cost to be around Rs 1 crore. We are also planning to open a 3D theatre in the new information center building where movies on planets and space would be displayed. The second floor of this building would house models of stars and planets. The planetarium plans to spend about Rs 2 crores in setting up this facility in the building,” he added.

Space simulator
Space simulator

Apart from the new information center building, a utility center building is also being constructed in the planetarium premises. This 7500 sq. ft. building will house a restaurant, a souvenir shop, library and a classroom for students. A telescope will be stationed at the terrace. The overall project cost is estimated to be around Rs 1 crore.

The planetarium authorities are considering running a show on India’s Mars mission. They would seek the help of ISRO to obtain the visuals and a committee would select the subjects that need to be displayed in these 30-minute shows.

Beyond the upgradation to the existing planetarium, Pathani Samanta planetarium is trying to take space science to the villages of the state. It plans to procure two mobile planetariums for Rs 64 lakhs for the purpose. As per planetarium authorities, the project would go live in the next two months.

These dome-like planetariums would travel to the schools and colleges of the state and camp at a place for a week to take the message of science to the people. These mobile planetariums would have their own telescope and generator. Six people, including an operator, demonstrator and helper, would be employed in each planetarium.

Also, the Khandapada based planetarium exhibition hall would be made functional within a few months. The building under construction by state Tourism Department would be handed over to the planetarium authorities as soon as the construction of the new building is over. This center would exhibit Pathani Samanta’s contribution to the field of space science. While the project started three years back, it had not made much progress due to delay in land procurement.

Similarly, a second planetarium would be set up in Sambalpur and would be made functional by April 2016. Overall, Rs 8 crores has been planned for this planetarium being constructed on five acres of land. The authorities are planning to procure even more land to house light and sound systems.