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In love with space

THE ASIAN AGE. | MERIN JAMES
Published : Nov 15, 2017, 12:21 am IST
Updated : Nov 15, 2017, 12:21 am IST

Ashton Paul is a young space enthusiast who wants to discover a planet and name it after himself.

The six-year-old’s constant interest in space led him to participate in many quiz competitions and other events held in Chennai.
 The six-year-old’s constant interest in space led him to participate in many quiz competitions and other events held in Chennai.

It was an accidental discovery for Ashton’s parents to know that their 1.5-year-old son was more inclined towards space science than nursery rhymes and cartoons! They got the kid a tab, through which he could explore more about space. 

The Asian Age got in touch with the Chennai-based child prodigy and his parents for a quick chat.

“We understood his passion towards space and started encouraging him. We bought him books and other journals about space science. I could easily say that he started learning the alphabet by reading those books,” says Gerry, Ashton’s mother.

The six-year-old’s constant interest in space led him to participate in many quiz competitions and other events held in Chennai. And the recent one saw him being recognised at the Space Week celebrations organised by the ISRO at Sathyabama University. 

“There was a written quiz competition for students from classes VIII to XII, but nothing in my age category. But I was very interested and told my mother. She went and requested the ISRO organisers and they happily agreed to include me in the competition. It was a great achievement for me,” says the first-grade student from Hindustan International School.

His mother continues, “When he was four-and-a-half, he used to say that he wants to become an astronaut/scientist and discover a planet and name it after himself. But like any other kid, he keeps changing his aim! Now he is saying that he wants to build a space station. I think as he grows up, his ambitions become bigger and bigger." 

Ashton stresses that he will never leave India and work anywhere else. “Many people asked me if it will be NASA or ISRO? Without any doubt, I can say it is ISRO,” he says.

Ashton’s parents also make sure that their elder son doesn’t miss out on any events related to space. “My husband and I are extremely supportive of Ashton’s interests. We ensure that we take the time out and make Ashton participate in all activities,” his mother adds.

Though Ashton is scared of it, his favourite topic is black hole! “I always have a feeling that one day, a black hole will come near our solar system and suck everything in. And this is likely to happen in four billion years. The two galaxies — Andromeda and Milky Way — will spiral and pass each other and collide. The final black hole will be massive in the entire universe and later will explode, leaving nothing behind,” Ashton exclaims. 

Ashton also adds that his friends are now interested in space. He smiles, “During breaks, I used to discuss with them about solar system, stars, etc. I like it when my friends ask me doubts.”

The young prodigy has won prizes in Young Leader Award (YLA, School of Success) for 2016 and 2017 and many other contests as well.

Tags: isro