U.S. Pavilion at Global Science Festival Kerala: NASA Scientists, Exhibits on Extra-terrestrial Intelligence Engage Audience

NASA-JPL scientists (from left) Kyle C. McDonald; Paul A. Rosen; Andrea Donnellan; Cathleen Jones; and Seung-bum Kim at the Global Science Festival Kerala, in Thiruvananthapuram, on Monday, January 22, 2024.

Highlights the U.S.-India scientific collaboration and opportunities available for students, scholars, and the public.  

Thiruvananthapuram, January 22:  The U.S. Consulate General Chennai, which has been an integral part of South India’s academic and cultural landscape for the last 76 years, partnered with the Government of Kerala to host a U.S. pavilion at the inaugural Global Science Festival Kerala (GSFK).  The month-long festival, located at the Bio 360 Life Sciences Park, Thonnakkal in Thiruvananthapuram features the U.S. pavilion where participants can attend science lectures including that of top National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientists, explore exhibits, and access high-on-demand educational resources.  The pavilion includes exhibits on the environment, space sciences, and extra-terrestrial intelligence with renowned collaborators, including NASA and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Labs.

In a highlight event on Monday, January 22, the U.S. pavilion hosted a series of science talks by five NASA scientists, part of the prestigious NASA-Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Synthetic Aperture Radar Mission (NISAR), at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).  The NASA JPL scientists lectured on the NASA-ISRO Earth-observing mission that is gearing up for its much-anticipated launch early 2024.

NASA/JPL Project Scientist Paul Rosen, who spoke at the U.S. pavilion, said, “It was a pleasure to be able to describe the exciting science and applications of the NISAR Mission at the Global Science Festival Kerala.  NISAR is the largest space collaboration between NASA and ISRO so far.  The NISAR observatory has two powerful imaging radar instruments, one built by ISRO to operate at a shorter radar wavelength, and another built by NASA to operate at a longer wavelength.  This first-of-a-kind system will tackle some of the most pressing problems in Earth Science, including understanding climate change and its consequences.  Radar also can see through clouds, so it is perfect for making reliable measurements for a broad range of applications, from forest management to flood mapping and monitoring.  This is a truly enabling partnership between the United States and India, and it is an honor to be a part of it.”

U.S. Consulate General Chennai Spokesperson Samantha Jackson said, “The U.S. government is proud to partner with the Government of Kerala at the Global Science Festival Kerala.  Our U.S. Pavilion, featuring NASA JPL scientists, is an example of our U.S.-India space diplomacy ties.  Our U.S.-India science and technology cooperation promotes economic growth and allows us to develop new and innovative technologies and products to address shared challenges. We understand science, technology, and innovation are key tools to address global challenges such as climate change, health, education, food, water, and energy security.  We support cutting-edge research and are building public-private partnerships that promote science and technology-based innovation and entrepreneurship.  We recognize the importance of gender equality in the scientific workforce and have conducted numerous exchanges encouraging more women and girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  For example, two bilateral endowments – the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) and U.S.-India Science and Technology Endowment Fund – have provided approximately $3 million to fund hundreds of exchange visits and support technology commercialization through U.S.-India joint ventures.”

NASA astrophysicist Dr. Madhulika Guhathakurta, who was the chief guest at the GSFK opening ceremony, inaugurated the U.S. Pavilion on January 15, along with the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.  In her keynote address, Dr. Guhathakura highlighted the U.S.-India scientific cooperation in fields of environment, education, science and technology, agriculture, space, and oceans.

The U.S. pavilion also highlights the importance of education in the fields of science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics (STEAM) and exchange opportunities in the United States, while introducing resources and exclusive programming for patrons — students, experts, researchers, and faculty.   GSFK opened January 15 and will end February 15, 2024.

Translation: Malayalam (PDF: 154 KB)