Aryan Mishra, a name so ordinary, but you know what is not going to be ordinary? The life Aryan is living. An 18-years-old boy, from a slum in New Delhi who saw a dream with open eyes to become an astronaut. From the day Aryan gained senses he knew his life was not as smooth as butter. Being a son of a newspaper seller, issues related to money and finance always surrounded him. But the zest he carried for astronomy did not allow him to give up. In 6th standard, our visionary joined his school’s Astronomy Club. The idea of studying a subject this vague is a nightmare for any parent, Aryan’s dad was not an exception.

Not having the usual demands and ambitions like children of his age, our dreamer started getting distant from everyone. Arguments with his dad, being called mad or abnormal became something like a routine for him. From 2011 till 2014, Aryan had no friends to talk to.  Depression took control, but just like a loyal friend, his dearest stars pulled him out from the darkness lurking within.

Our young achiever is not someone you will be able to forget. His achievements will leave you astonished till the very core. Being only 18, Aryan has experienced what many of us could not even dream of. He personally met Sunita Williams, Rakesh Sharma India’s first person in space, visited the family of Kalpana Chawla, receive an invitation from Barack Obama during his visit to India and a letter from the Canadian Prime Minister acknowledging his hard work.

The list of accomplishments keeps getting bigger and bigger as the achievements continue. Aryan Mishra is one of the lucky people who got the opportunity to meet former ISRO chairman. He has been invited to many well-known organizations such as NASA and ISRO. Nonetheless, our leader has done training from Advance Space Academy at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama.

Balancing life is never easy, who will understand this better than students. Having an extremely busy schedule, how our dynamo maintained both studying and astronomy passion is beyond recommendable. On days of school, Aryan had no time to spare. After coming back from school he attended tuition from 4 pm to 9.30 pm. Following tuition, from 9.30 pm to 1 am was allotted to self-study or completion of homework. When did he get time for space exploring? It was when he took breaks while studying, taking his telescope and wandering off to space was his definition of relaxing. Weekends were not lenient either. Saturdays and Sundays were busy with visiting other states to deliver speeches or for attending events. Another obstacle was the Delhi’s poor sky quality. To stargaze in peace, Aryan had to travel to nearby places like Rajasthan or Uttarakhand. Even after not getting a minute to breathe without a purpose, passion and determination regarding astronomy never left the picture.

Until the age of 11 planets, moon, asteroids, all these were just some fictional characters in our protagonist’s eyes. But when one fine day, Aryan saw everything with his own eyes did he decide to never leave this utopia ever alone. A boy just 11-years-old could not understand what he was looking at but very clearly sensed being the happiest he ever was. From that day till now, astronomy never left the hands of Aryan Mishra.

In 2014, the headlines were bombarded with the following news: A 14-year-old Delhi boy discovered an asteroid. An All India Asteroid Search Campaign conducted by through SPACE, an NGO in collaboration with  International Astronomical Search Collaboration (IASC) was held. Aryan Mishra along with his friend Keerti Vardhan participated in the contest trying out their luck. Little did anyone know what was waiting for him. Out of 75 teams in India, only 2 teams were able to discover a new asteroid in the sky which was already occupied by millions other. This was the moment the hard work of our visionary paid off. He found an asteroid and will be naming it after his school. This asteroid will be declared as an enlisted asteroid this year itself by International Astronomical Union in Paris.

Every successful story has a hero which remains in the background but is the reason for uplifting the main lead. In this story, a teacher of Aryan played this role. His first Astronomy teacher Late Mr. Savroop Singh Sodhi was the person who taught him, ‘A for Astronomy, not apple.’ One phrase said by his teacher, which will forever motivate our young leader is “kisi cheez ke liye jeena hai toh ese jiyo ki poori duniya dekhti reh jaye”. Unfortunately, 4 years back the teacher died in a car accident, but not before ensuring that our dreamer was following the right path. As a tribute to the most important influential figure in his life, Aryan took a pledge to name the next asteroid he finds after his teacher.

If there’s a journey, there will be a goal. The goal of our protagonist is to walk on Mars and become the first person to beat-box in outer space. To keep discovering the lengths of deep space such asteroids, planets and new extraterrestrial life are also some of the remaining goals.

Every achiever today has someone to look up to. The biggest inspirational figure in this story is Kalpana Chawla. Kalpana Chawla herself belonged to a middle-class family and she was the first woman to take up Aeronautical Engineering as her major subject in her college. All the forces acted against her, but she never fell. Throughout her life, she sponsored around 200-300 student’s education. Just like his idol, Aryan sponsors and helps kids in the field of education and astronomy. He gives talks not only in India but in other countries via Skype and has covered nearly 20 countries and talked to around 1 lakh kids. Aryan has also given a TEDx talk, “Looking up the Night Sky”.

Being a youngster himself, our extraordinary combatant forwards two messages for everyone. The key to achieving your ambitions lies in just two qualities namely, passion and determination. Make these two elements your best friend and you may never back down.

Being a part of developing country like India it is not easy to dream of space. However, the struggle of the past 8 years has made Aryan even more determined to change this mindset. Every little endeavor is aimed at creating this change. Aryan’s dream is not only to become an Astronaut one day but to encourage many other young minds like him.

In his words, “Your dreams are your wings that help you to fly, go face the world reach for the sky”

Passion equals drive, drive equals determination, and enough determination equals success.