Class 8 NCERT Solutions English Chapter 10 - The Comet - II
The Comet - II Exercise 83
"For a moment James wondered if he had done his sums right." He was doubtful about his sums and calculations because when James looked up from his window a star-studded night sky greeted him. Somewhere amongst these stars was Comet Dutta heading for a collision with the earth. It was hard for him to believe the calamity of the future on such a peaceful night.
The scientists at the conference said that James sums were right, there was no escape from the direct hit of comet Dutta with the earth as predicted by him. There was a small chance that the comet would just graze the atmosphere of the earth and not collide and in that case the loss of life and property would not be total. This however was hardly reassuring enough for no action to be taken.
Immediate action was needed, the scientists decided. The defensive measure was to live in underground bunkers. The offensive action was that Comet Dutta could be marginally deflected from its path by giving it a push. A gigantic nuclear explosion suitably placed, suitably directed and suitably timed would help. This could be done by placing the nuclear payload in a spaceship, sending it to intercept the approaching comet and detonating it by remote control.
"I am not buying any Christmas presents till December 15."
By that Sir John meant that the final experiment would take place by the 15th of November and if the experiment failed December 15th would be the day that the comet would hit the earth and the world would come to an end. He was not sure about the success of the operation and so he was honest with his friend and said if it was successful he would buy Christmas presents only after that date.
The Comet - II Exercise 87
On his return from London Duttada is expected to perform a shanti yajna to pacify the evil spirit behind the comet.
Duttda was very angry and blew up on hearing the proposal and said that all this was superstition. Superstition could be condoned in the olden times when man did not know what comets were but not in modern times. However he felt it was pointless trying to explain the movements of comets and their visits having no correlation to disasters on earth, to people like his wife who had never read even the elementary books of Science.
(i) 'Project Light Brigade' was a code name given to the operation which would deflect the comet and stop it from colliding with the earth. The operation involved placing the nuclear payload in a spaceship, sending it to intercept the approaching comet and detonating it by remote control.(ii) Sir John says about the Project in his letter to Duttada in October that the charge of the Light Brigade has begun and let us hope for the best which meant that the spacecraft had been launched on time.
Yes, Sir John bought Christmas presents on December 15. Duttada got to know about if through an urgent telex message which was sent by Sir John. On November 18 a special messenger on a scooter from the British Council brought in this urgent telex message for him. The message said that he was confident of buying his Christmas presents on December 15 and was signed John Macpherson.
According to Indrani Debi, the comet had not been disastrous because of the yajna performed by Duttada's descendant.
No, we do not agree with her because it was only her superstitious attitude that made her believe that the earth had been saved from the comet because of the yajna.It was actually scientists at the conference who analyzed the problem, devised solutions and executed them rationally and efficiently through Project Light Brigade that saved the earth.
Duttada's general outlook is rational because he was not a superstitious person.
His rational outlook can be seen in the following situations.
When he first discovered the comet his wife Indrani Debi told him that she wished he had never discovered it as comets brought only ill luck. He laughed at her and said that even her MA degree could not cure her of her superstitions and there was no correlation between the arrival of comets and calamites.
Again when he returned from London and she wanted to perform a yagna to pacify the evil spirit behind the comet he was very angry and blew up on hearing the proposal and said that all this was superstition. Superstition could be condoned in the olden times when man did not know what comets were but not in modern times. Finally, when she told him that the comet had not been disastrous because of the yajna performed by Duttada's descendant he realized that the gap between the rational and the superstitious was far wider and far more sinister and human society might never succeed in eliminating it.