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A drawing by a 12-year-old from Palani has found a place in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) international Commercial Crew Calendar for 2019.

N. Thenmukilan, a Class VIII student of Shri Vidhya Mandir, Palani, drew an image of an astronaut cultivating fruits and vegetables in space to boost nutrition. He said that it took two full days to put his concept on paper. His entry was chosen from among thousands of others vying for a spot in the calendar at an international level.

Thenmukilan said that he began taking an interest in art from the age of 6. He would spend hours drawing and colouring. “Our school has a club called ‘Image Minds’, which helps us explore ideas creatively. When I first heard about the topic ‘Space Food’, my mind went several places. I finally settled for the concept of cultivating food in space as fresh vegetables never last the journey,” he said.

‘Sense of being home’

The student added that he drew tomatoes, pumpkins, bottle guards, corn, onion, pineapples and paddy to ensure that the astronauts had enough nutrition in outer space. It would give them a sense of being at home, he said.

Thenmukilan’s artwork was chosen for the month of November. He said that he used oil pastels, colour pencils and acrylic paint to produce his artwork. His parents, M. Natarajan, headmaster of a government school, and P. Chandramani, Senior Revenue Inspector, said that they were overjoyed upon hearing the news. “We were pleasantly surprised. The credit goes to his school and his teachers for honing his artistic talent,” said Mr. Natarajan.

According to NASA’s website, the Commercial Crew Calendar would be transmitted to astronauts aboard the space station.

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