Author: Trisha Banthia, Class VI F
Era was a curious child, interested in Science. She would always be learning and finding new facts on the universe. Her dream job was to be an astronomer. Once, while she was learning about comets online, she came across a competition related to Astronomy. She had to do research on Mars. The judges would select the 5 most intriguing and engrossing research papers. The ones who were selected would be given a chance to explore Mars and collect samples.
Era was thrilled and started her research. She worked day and night to get selected. After all, this had been her dream ever since she was 4. She put in all her effort but made a slight mistake. Turns out, there was an age limit. Era was only 14 while she had to be at least 16 to explore Mars. She found this out only 2 days before the submission deadline.
She froze at the very thought of not making it through. It had been not just her dream but a passion for which she worked for months to make the most valuable research papers. She was determined and didn’t want to lose an opportunity like this. With all her conviction and honesty she decided to submit the research paper anyway. She was called to appear for a medical examination as a part of the selection process.
A fortnight later, the date for results arrived. Luckily and surprisingly, Era got selected! Her determination, interest and hard work in the field of worked in her favour. Because of her athletic build, she made it through the medical exam too. After all the required training, it was time to fly to Mars.
Next, they went under a strict diet and heavy training for a span of 30 long days without a single break as this opportunity only comes once in years when Mars comes close to the Earth. The time was short. Getting up at 4 and doing the physical training on the ground to taking lessons on Mars was a gruelling process but she did it all with great fervour and resilience. Soon, the day arrived when they had to finally board the spaceship to Mars. Soon, she was in a spaceship, flying to Mars. Along with the excitement, there was also an uncanny fear and chilling nervousness to adjust to the new climate and about the possibilities of landing safely on Mars. But the uninterrupted passion to land on Mars and explore the unexplored was her biggest winner to overcome all challenges that came on the way.
Finally they landed. This was by far the fastest landing ever, thanks to the extremely talented scientists of ISRO. They had made an unbelievably strong and technologically sound spaceship. When Era and her team reached Mars, they experienced a difficult climate. It was all dry and cold. Era, along with 4 other people, started collecting samples. They worked hard for a long time. That’s when they saw a mysterious, red button fixed to the ground. Era and the other four explorers were curious. After some deliberation, they decided to push it. Era went forward and as soon as she pressed it, CLANG! They all fell into the inner part of MARS! They all were terrified, shocked and confused. Unlike the outermost layer, the inner part of Mars was brighter, warmer and had some seed-like structures under the hard crust.
Bingo! They thought to themselves, if this is going to be the biggest exploration done till date. After all, this would mean there’s life on another planet. They took pictures of the place along with a barrage of samples. Halfway through the process, Era realised something was left and it also shook others when she shared her fear. She realised that they had come to the bottom-most core by pressing the red button, but there was no visible button to go back. They were stuck!
They all started panicking and searching for a way to go back. After many hours of effort in searching for the way to return to where they had landed, they all started getting exhausted and decided to sit beside a rock, saddened and breathless. That was when one of them stomped their feet in frustration on a hard rock. And bang! They all were surprisingly transferred back to the surface of Mars in a flash.
Era and her teammates were on cloud nine to be back in their spaceship. They realised they were safe now. Their journey back to Earth wasn’t as exhaustive as they were all busy sharing their research and also managed to doze off turn by turn. Era felt proud, but this didn’t last long. She couldn’t stop wondering, how she was allowed to travel to Mars because after all, she didn’t meet the criterion of eligibility because of her age.
After reaching back on Earth, they handed over the samples for testing, along with every minute detail of the occurrences that had happened on the planet. Era was sent back home to relax. So were the other teammates after the long tiresome yet a very successful expedition to Mars.
After about a week, Era’s phone rang. It was a call from the research department. They told her that her selection had been an exception. It had taken them multiple rounds of discussion to agree to select her for this challenging expedition to Mars. She was underage but her research was so impressive that they decided to consider this as a one-in-a-million case. Era silently choked with tears of joy. She realised her passion and knowledge finally paid off.
That’s when her doorbell rang. A package had arrived for her. The package held a cheque and a certificate of excellence. She was informed that the samples she collected on Mars were exemplary and very resourceful to ISRO. They said though the findings are still under the scan, but the youths have definitely opened up the new and very exciting possibility of finding life on a planet other than Earth.
There was also an invitation to all the fellow members from none other than the President, Droupadi Murmu to join for dinner.
Era gasped for joy, “Where there is a will, there is a way! Winners are ordinary people with some extraordinary determination!”