Science 03 Mar 2016 Shocking: NASA shrug ...

Shocking: NASA shrugs off West Bengal teenager’s GIP scholarship claim

Published Mar 3, 2016, 3:21 pm IST
Updated Mar 3, 2016, 8:28 pm IST
Sataparna Mukherjee. (Photo: Facebook)
 Sataparna Mukherjee. (Photo: Facebook)

Mumbai: A fresh revelation about the “prodigious” West Bengal teenager Sataparna Mukherjee suggested that the Goddard Internship Programme (GIP) opportunity she claimed to have received from NASA was allegedly fabricated.

Numerous media outlets on February 29 reported the episode after news about her achievement appeared on a national daily.

While many lauded the achievement, abundant others on social media remained cynical about facts mentioned in the media reports, and even sent e-mails to the space agency to know if such a chance was granted to her.

Unfortunately, NASA’s reply suggested that they were unaware about any such student, and such a program does not exist.

A Facebook user, Ayoti Mitra, pointed out in a post that the “internship claim” was fabricated, as NASA does not even offer internship opportunities to students without a US citizenship.

While Mitra felt that the aforementioned point was enough to unfurl the issue, she also revealed that NASA's does not have a London Astrobiological Center. Moreover, Sataparna’s educational opportunity at the Oxford University was also untrue, as the institution has no ties with NASA.

Aritra Ghosh, a graduate in physics, conducted additional research after her came across Mitra’s Facebook post. After coming across several loopholes Sataparna's story, he finally sent an e-mail to NASA’s PR communications officer. To his surprise, the NASA official denied knowing about any such program.

The official said: “The program noted by multiple Indian media outlets does not exist. Our education program is the New York City Research Initiative (NYCRI).”

Even after the revelation of all these facts, Sataparna still stood her ground and brushed off the aforementioned allegations.While this can be a mere publicity stunt, chances are high that she fell victim to online fraudsters who con youngsters for personal benefits.

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