Noosphere’s 2022: supporting Ukraine and continuing our work

23 Dec 2022
Noosphere’s 2022: supporting Ukraine and continuing our work

At the beginning of January, like the rest of Ukraine, Association Noosphere started on its plans for the year that had just begun. We planned both our traditional annual initiatives and new projects, including events in the field of rocket modeling and robotics, the opening of a lecture hall in Gagarin Park, and the launch of a festival to be held in Ukraine for the first time ever.

Starting February 1, 2022, we began accepting applications for the Noosphere Space Art Challenge, and scientists from the Noosphere Engineering School joined our interview project for the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. There were many plans and much work ahead, but on February 24, every Ukrainian’s world turned upside down. At the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the favorite initiative of our little dreamers, the Noosphere Space Art Challenge, was already in full swing. We had received more than 2,000 space drawings, but unfortunately the competition had to be put on hold.

Ukrainians began volunteering for their country and their fellow citizens. Everyone who had the opportunity and desire joined the volunteer movement in their cities to support Ukraine on the economic, technological, and other fronts, and Association Noosphere was no exception. Thus, students and mentors from the laboratories of Noosphere Engineering School throughout Ukraine started volunteering, and the school’s location in Dnipro  transformed into a volunteer center. Starting in the beginning of March, the center began hosting workshops on first aid and self-defense. In addition, the Dnipro teams of the Noosphere Archaeology and WheelKeep projects erected sandbag shields around the stone sculptures in the courtyard of the Historical Museum. The Noosphere Planetarium began offering free admission to displaced people in Dnipro to help them escape the problems of the war for a few hours.. Association Noosphere redirected the prize fund for its drawing competition to purchase supplies for displaced children. Noosphere also created a series of patriotic phone wallpapers to remind every Ukrainian that together we are strong!

Ukraine has received a wide range of  support from abroad. Our partners at the FAI (World Air Sports Federation) blocked the membership of the russian federation and the republic of belarus and excluded the aggressor countries from participating in their events. The judge of the Vernadsky Challenge 2017, famous TV presenter and legendary myth-buster Jamie Heineman, condemned Russian aggression and recorded a video to support Ukraine.

In April, we received news about the first successes of Ukrainian forces at the front, as the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) completely liberated Kyiv Region and territories in the north of the country that had been seized by the occupiers. At the same time, we heard about the terrible events that took place during the russian occupation, leaving many adults and children in serious need of psychological support. Together with the talented artist Tetyana Kramarenko, we organized a series of free webinars for children based on the therapeutic fairy tale «On the Planet of Fulfilling Dreams». 565 children from different parts of Ukraine joined the webinars. For adults, we held our third and final lecture on medical education, which was devoted to symptoms of post-traumatic stress. In addition, the Noosphere Store organized a charity auction on its Instagram page, with all proceeds going to help the AFU.

To sum up the spring, Noosphere put together a small review, in which we collected all the materials that we received during medical training at the Noosphere Engineering School and talked in detail about the volunteering of each Engineering School project. On the page of the Noosphere Space Art Challenge drawing competition, we held a reading marathon dedicated to a book by a Ukrainian author, as well as a translation of an English-language fairy tale. Noosphere also joined another partner event,  the Unity Cup charity cyber tournament.

The beginning of summer marked the start of several noospheric initiatives. To support children in difficult times, we organized Noosphere Children’s Day, an event to mark International Children’s Day with a number of educational and creative space activities. It was held on June 1 at the Noosphere Planetarium in Dnipro. More than 50 children from different regions of Ukraine took part in workshops on rocket modeling and gingerbread coloring, participated in a space quiz, and created a patriotic flip-flop picture together. We also launched Noosphere Birthday Cards, a social postcrossing initiative for children. At the end of the month, we held a free educational and entertainment course in Dnipro, the Noosphere STEM Camp, which was attended by 50 young Mariupolans. The curriculum focused on robotics, with engineering and robot programming classes held every day. At the same time, young Ukrainians who came up through the Noosphere technological ecosystem represented Ukraine on the international stage, as the Wheel Keep project joined VivaTech, Europe’s largest technological event dedicated to innovations and startups.

Registration for the Noosphere Space Games, the first virtual rocket modeling competition in Ukraine, began in July. At the end of the month, we held a space lecture and workshop at the Noosphere Engineering School, during which young space enthusiasts learned about the Kerbal Space Program. At that time, the Noosphere Birthday Cards project got into full swing, as  we received dozens of drawings from young artists from different parts of Ukraine and abroad every day.

August was a month of interim results for us. First, we wrapped up the virtual postcrossing for the children’s Noosphere Birthday Cards project. Over the course of the initiative’s two and a half months, we received more than 600 space drawings, and more than 100 young Ukrainians joined the offline drawings that took place as part of the project. Even though the project stopped taking new drawings a while ago, Noosphere Birthday Cards continues. From September 1, 2022 to September 1, 2023, each young artist who participates in Noosphere Birthday Cards will receive an e-greeting card in their inbox on their birthday. We also concluded the Noosphere Space Games virtual rocket modeling competition, with the winners announced on August 20. More than 350 children from across Ukraine participated in the competition. The participants united in 148 teams that competed for a prize fund of $1,000. At the beginning of August, Noosphere supported another space initiative from our partners, a national astronomic olympiad in which participants battled with complex problems for several hours before presenting their solutions to a jury. At the end of the summer, like every Ukrainian, we were grateful to the Armed Forces of Ukraine for the opportunity to celebrate Ukrainian Flag Day and Independence Day in our free country as free Ukrainians unbowed by the aggressor.

Autumn began traditionally with the  Day of Knowledge holiday marking the start of the new school year. September was also remembered for an event of a cosmic scale: the International Astronautical Congress (International Astronautical Congress – IAC), which took place in Paris and gathered more than 9,300 delegates from 110 countries. Among the participants were the project patrons the Noosphere Association, EOS Data Analytics, Dragonfly Aerospace, and the Noosphere Ventures investment fund. In the same month, registration and preparations began for the annual NASA Space Apps Challenge.

October was no less full of events. On October 1 and 2, Ukraine held its national competition for the NASA Space Apps Challenge in Dnipro. This year, 195 participants joined the hackathon, who formed 41 teams and presented a record 38 projects. One of the entrants, the NEXT SPACE LAB team, was one of 47 Global Finalists Honorable Mentions. Registration for the second Noosphere Space Games.Middle edition virtual rocket modeling competition also began in October. At the end of the month, during European Programming Week, we held the VEX RoboWeek STEM course for children aged 6 to 12. At the course, young inventors studied the basics of programming and designing robots, and some programmed their first robot by themselves.

In the last month of autumn, the second national Noosphere Space Games.Middle edition virtual rocket modeling competition kicked off. More than 850 schoolchildren and students under the age of 18 began a mission to plant a virtual flag of Ukraine on the moon and compete for a prize fund of $1,200. In November, we also concluded an agreement with the Slovak the ActInSpace hackathon.Noosphere Association signed a memorandum of partnership with the Slovak Space Office and, as part of this cooperation, became a co-organizer of the Slovak local stage of ActInSpace 2022.

The Noosphere Space Games ended in December, with the winners receiving their prizes. In addition, Noosphere Association became a partner in the launch of the Wobi2 chatbot, which uses friendly, playful methods to  check what children know about security and teaches them how to act correctly during wartime. We also joined the St. Nicholas’s Reindeer charity project, through which we organized a tour of the Makarov National Center for Youth Aerospace Education and conducted a workshop and quiz on space topics for 60 children aged 9 and over. On December 19, the book «Space Hotel “Ukraine”» by Australian author Jade Metre was published, the illustrations for which were drawn by the participants of the Noosphere Space Art Challenge. An electronic version of the book is available on the Noosphere website for free. Proceeds from the sale of the printed version will be used by the Noosphere Association to support social projects and initiatives to help internally displaced persons.

Noosphere continues to work on its front line and will continue to support Ukraine in these difficult times. Together to the Victory!