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Over to the Moon and back

DC | BARKHA KUMARI
Published Jan 14, 2014, 4:14 pm IST
Updated Mar 19, 2019, 6:21 am IST
Why Dr P. Senthil Kumar’s body of work can inspire the young minds...
Dr P. Senthil Kumar
 Dr P. Senthil Kumar

After spending 15 years researching on Venus, Mars and the Moon, Dr P. Senthil Kumar is back to Earth. The senior scientist from CSIR-NGRI, who recently bagged the IGU Krishnan Gold Medal 2013, has a new assignment these days – ‘Why is the Earth so unique in our Solar system?’

“It isn’t easy either,” laughs the planetary geological sciences expert, adding, “For this, I first need to understand why the Earth’s neighbours behave the way they do.”

 

Interestingly, Dr Senthil doesn’t have a formal educational in planetary sciences, as he explains, “It was during my stint as a junior scientist at the NGRI that I became interested in planetary science. I just hold an M.Sc degree in geology.”

He elaborates the turn of events: “I came across a British research paper on the tectonic movements on the surface of Venus and found the interpretation quite wrong. Then I established that forces behind these movements don’t originate on the surface. Also, their directions are clockwise. It is now the most suitable tectonic model for Venus.”

Dr Senthil’s work has been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research and he has also worked at the Nasa for a year, mapping out the southern hemisphere of the Venus. He has even contradicted the fact that gullies found on the Moon don’t necessarily indicate the presence of water there.

“It could also be due to the ground vibrations unleashed by a meteoric collision,” says the scientist who has also formulated a better way to calculate the age of the Moon and its gullies.

Dr Senthil’s work on the Lonar crater found in Maharastra is also path-breaking. “These craters are representative of craters on the Venus, Mars and Moon. So, they help us study the damage caused on these surfaces due to a meteor,” he explains.

“This science is very exciting but unfortunately, all the IT companies have hijacked the imagination of youngsters. I hope it changes soon,” says Dr Senthil.

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