The Karnataka government is going to launch five mobile planetariums that will travel across the state to provide an immersive, digital experience of space for students of government high schools and pre-university colleges. Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will flag off the project on August 23.
“This is the first such project in India where a planetarium is taken to the doorsteps of schools,” Minister for Science & Technology, MR Seetharam said. Two mobile units will be deployed in the Belagavi revenue division and one each in Bengaluru, Mysuru and Kalaburagi divisions.
Each unit, with a capacity to seat 30-40 students, will recreate the opto-mechanical projection that the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium in Bengaluru uses in its popular Sky Theatre, where visuals of planets in the Solar System are projected on a dome. Each show will last 25-30 minutes accompanied by narration. “The idea is to take the planetarium experience to students in rural schools, who can only dream of visiting the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium in Bengaluru. By February 2018, we hope to cover all schools. By March, the units will be made available for public exhibition,” Seetharam said.
The project was first piloted in Chikkaballapur, Gauribidanur and Bagepalli taluks where a mobile unit covered 10,500 students in 33 government high schools. The Science & Technology department decided to scale it up after receiving an overwhelming response, Seetharam said. City-based Varnaaz Technologies, which designed the mobile units, will be responsible for their upkeep for three years.