Scientists and engineers at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) in Bengaluru, who were responsible for the primary payload of the Aditya L-1 solar mission, implemented a stringent policy against the use of perfumes and sprays.
This precautionary measure was set in place due to the potentially disruptive impact that even the minutest particle could have on the crucial work on Aditya’s primary payload, called the Visible Emission Line Coronagraph or VELC.
To maintain an impeccably pristine environment, these dedicated professionals carried out their tasks within a highly controlled cleanroom, often called a “sanctuary.”
This cleanroom maintained cleanliness, surpassing that of a hospital intensive care unit by 1,00,000. Furthermore, every member of the team wore specialized suits to prevent any form of contamination. Additionally, every time they entered the clean room, they underwent ultrasonic cleaning procedures as an extra precautionary measure.
Nagabushana S, the head of the VELC technical team, explained, “The cleanroom had to be maintained at a level of cleanliness 1-lakh times higher than that of a hospital ICU.”
“We used HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, isopropyl alcohol (99 percent concentrated), and rigorous protocols to ensure no foreign particles caused disruptions. A single particle discharge could have undone days of hard work,” Sanal Krishna from IIA, a member of the VELC technical team, added.
I IA’s scientists worked six-hour shifts without even using medicinal sprays within the confines of the cleanroom, Krishna explained.
It should be noted that this practice was not observed by scientists from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), as reported. In interviews with three ISRO scientists, all confirmed they were not obliged to abstain from using perfumes and deodorants while working.
However, all of them agreed and underscored the significance of upholding the cleanliness and purity of cleanrooms. One of them even speculated that perhaps the IIA scientists were taking additional precautions, as reported by the Times of India.