Son of a newspaper vendor saves money to buy a telescope. Discovers an Asteroid


Aryan Mishra
Aryan Mishra, the youngster who discovered an asteroid at the age of 14

Born to a newspaper vendor in Delhi, Aryan Mishra is a real teen prodigy. At an age when children usually play under the evening skies, Aryan Mishra used to scale it. At an early age of 14, this passionate space enthusiast discovered a near-Earth asteroid in All India Asteroid Search Campaign, a nation-wide search campaign. His discovery has been designated the number 2014 00372 and is soon to become a part of the world’s minor body catalog maintained by the International Astronomical Union in Paris.

It was the curiosity of the unknown that led Aryan to the mystical cosmos. The night sky always intrigued him when he used to sleep on his terrace. He used to ask questions related to space and the celestial bodies to his school teachers. Struck by Aryan’s interest in astrophysics, one of his teachers suggested he join the Space Club of the school. That’s when his rocket of passion started projecting in the direction of his dreams. Aryan Mishra, is a student of Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Delhi. His first tryst with space was when as a member of space club he saw Saturn from a telescope. He was 11 years old then, and the beauty and magnificence of the planet left him amazed. Aryan decided then that he wanted to become an astronaut or an aerospace engineer.

Aryan Mishra with astronaut Sunit Williams
Aryan Mishra with astronaut Sunita Williams

 

But the road wasn’t easy. Aryan, saved his pocket money by skipping canteen meals and walking to school for 18 months. With that humble saving, he bought his first own telescope for Rs 5000. Spending this amount to buy something they considered useless, for obvious reasons, angered his parents. Aryan found the best way to prove the worth of his telescope by discovering a near-Earth asteroid. He states that the asteroid was moving between Jupiter and Mars. He did all his research from a cyber-cafe because he didn’t have a computer and internet connection at home.

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Aryan has been nominated for many science awards. The Times of India awarded him a couple of times by for his incredible impact work. Aryan’s discovery of asteroid fetched him many other small packets glories; like the owner of the cyber cafe felt extremely proud to know that his cybercafe had a major contribution to Aryan’s discovery. As a result he stopped charging the cafe fees from him.

Aryan Mishra speaking at TEDx Delhi
Aryan Mishra speaking at TEDx Delhi

Aryan’s love for astronomy didn’t stop there. While doing all the discoveries and research, he found that in India, Astronomy, as a subject is not available at the school level or undergraduate level. And if one wants to pursue astronomy as a career, it can be availed only in Masters or higher levels of education. With the motive to allow students to see Astronomy as a career, Aryan co-founded the “Spark Astronomy”, Spark Astronomy currently works on building an affordable astronomy lab in 9 schools. His short-term goal is to make 100 astronomy labs all over the country. In addition to this, Aryan mentors various astronomy clubs, attends events and seminars to share his knowledge with other students. He takes great inspiration from the likes of Sunita Williams and Rakesh Sharma.

At present, Aryan is pursuing a B.Sc. in Physics from Ashoka University. He believes in the conviction that contribution to science never goes in vain. One might spend the most precious time of life to unveil the secrets of the universe through science and still get nothing, but the secrets of this universe are worth the years of attempts made. From being a son of a newspaper vendor to being a newspaper headline, Aryan Mishra has truly shot to the stars. 

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