On September 24, 2014, as the world, especially India, watched with bated breath, ISRO successfully launched its Orbiter into Martian orbit in the first attempt, breaking several records. India entered the elite group of nations that could reach Mars.

As Indians the world over rejoiced, Rithika lay in her bed tossing and turning. She just couldnt sleep and several thoughts crossed her mind. The next day, every newspaper worth its salt published India’s achievement and several nations like US and Russia unveiled their visions to reach MARS through manned space missions.

“Whats the matter Ritu, why are you not having breakfast??,” asked her mom, as Rithika ran to catch her school bus. “Iam not hungry, i have an early test today,” she replied as she dashed off ! Dad grumbled, “she seems a bit upset since last week, not sure what the problem is!”

When Ritu got back home, her mom, a Mechanical Engineer herself, began the conversation asking her about the school test in the morning. Sensing her mood swings, mom deviated the topic. “Amazing isn’t it, India has reached Mars in its first attempt. We all should be proud. Did your teachers talk about it??,” enquired mom. Ritika looked at mom expressionless and continued watching the TV. “Whats the matter, say something Ritu!!, dont you feel inspired to become an Aerospace Engineer working at ISRO for their next mission??,” she said. Switching off the TV, Rithika looked at her mom and retorted back, “why do you always have to think like an Engineer? Do you even understand how humans are polluting planet earth? And now they are planning to send manned mission to Mars to pollute Mars as well! Do you want me to be happy about it? Dont you see the big picture of what is going to happen in the future with all these manned missions? Without proper guidance they are going to pollute Mars as well.”.

Rithika’s mom was speechless, not knowing how to respond. As she started to speak, Rithika’s dad, hearing the discussion, sat next to Rithika, switching on the TV again. Grabbing the remote, Rithika switched off the TV glaring at her Dad angrily, “First listen to me and then watch TV!”. “So what do you want the world to do? Stop all space explorations?,” Dad argued. “No!, i didnt say that. We have all learnt our lessons, shouldnt we be applying those lessons when we go to Mars? If unmanned Mission to Mars needed Engineers, a Manned Mission needs Space Architects who will understand, plan and design life in Mars. We all know that Mars is a different planet with different environment. So we need Architects who understand that environment and design a self-sustainable life based on renewable resources for humans that include living spaces, food and water. Who discusses these aspects. Everyone seems to be interested in missions!,” explained Rithika to Dad.

“So you mean you want to be a Space Architect? I have never heard of a career like this,” responded dad. “Dad, if you look at the Big Picture you will understand why Space Architects are needed. Space Architects are Architects who design spaces for Astronauts and plan their long stay in the planet from a sustainability perspective, the same way Architects here design living spaces for sustainability. Space Architects will have to figure out every aspect of living in Mars including food, water, electricity and stay. Only Space Architects can help Astronauts and Researchers do their job well by designing their living spaces, thus ensuring their happiness and achieving environmental sustainability. Even ISRO will need Architects”, replied Rithika.

“I want to be a Space Architect,” concluded Rithika. As dad and mom looked at each other, she switched on TV and continued watching her favourite channel, National Geographic.

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