The Odisha boy, who had reportedly received an invitation from Nasa to take part in a contest, has turned out to be fake. In October 019, Subhranshu Nayak had received a letter from NASA informing of his selection in a contest at Nasa headquarters in the US for his invention ‘Mavic drone project’.
His family’s happiness knew no boundaries after Subhranshu Nayak, son of a bag seller, received the letter from the space agency.
Subhranshu Nayak, a class 9 student, had developed a Mavic drone which could be sent to isolated places to help accident victims. It took him three months to build the drone at a cost of Rs 65.
The letter from Nasa, addressed to the principal of Nayak’s school principal, read: “We had received the project planning from your student. The planning of this project is better in his age. So our team has selected your student to participate in international competition -NASA Space Settlement Contest.”
The e-mail also had the signature of Nasa scientist James L Green who, in the letter, said the agency had selected Subhranshu Nayak to participate in the international competition.
“We are always looking for bright scientists and engineers to help us. So your student will study hard and do well in the contest. We hope to see your student at Nasa in this competition,” the e-mail read.
It was followed by another mail from one James Green, the “director” of the Planetary Science Division. This time, the letter was full of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. The letter said that Green would like Nayak to come to the US for the contest from November 28, 2019, to January 10, 2020.
It also said around 138 participants across the globe, including two from India, are being invited to visit Nasa’s Space Settlement Centre.
“I confirm that my name is Dr James L Green and work in science division at NASA Ames Research Centre. As I am an American citizen, I am aware that I will be responsible for my visitors and during the visit he will be finance by me and themselves. During their visit they will be staying with me (sic),” said the mail signed by Green.
However, James Green worked as the Director of the Planetary Science Division till April 2018 and has been working as its chief scientist since then. The two mobile phone numbers at the bottom of the e-mail also turned out to be fake.
Speaking to a regional TV channel, Subhranshu had said, “I got the inspiration to develop a drone after watching Bollywood movie 3 Idiots. Later, I watched on YouTube that one person in Hyderabad got selected in Nasa competition by developing a drone model.”
“I contacted him and uploaded my project on the Nasa website. Four days later, I received a message that I was selected for the competition,” Subhranshu said adding, “My father provided everything I needed for the project.”
Angul SP Jagmohan Meena told India Today TV, “Our cyber cell investigated the matter. It has come to light that it is a fake e-mail and not a genuine one. We have tracked the juvenile who had sent the forged e-mail. Since the accused is a minor, we cannot reveal his identity. A detailed report will be submitted to the Juvenile Justice Board.”