2020 has been a real challenge for the global community. The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we at Noosphere work. However, we are still looking for new ways, new like-minded people and new partnerships to achieve our main goal — promoting science to young people and businesses.
This year we held 17 Noospherean events in both offline and online formats, launched new initiatives and continued to build on existing ones. Let’s see how they went.
The engineering startup competition has seen some changes from COVID-19. Due to quarantine restrictions, the competition finals had to be postponed to 2021, but that did not stop us from collecting 132 applications from 36 countries! Among the participants were 55 startups in the field of space technology and 71 in active bioelectronics. Thinkers from the United States, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and Germany have taken up the Vernadsky Challenge.
For the second year in a row, the children’s drawing competition gathered thousands of works from all over Ukraine. From young to old — 5,378 participants joined us on a space trip to the Moon and beyond. Among this galaxy of young talents, we chose 9 stars who received great gifts. The 100 best drawings will be showcased at the exhibition during the finals of the Vernadsky Challenge, as well as adorning the annual Noosphere calendar.
For the first time this year, NASA’s largest space hackathon was virtual. After four years of hosting the local stage, the shift to online has significantly expanded participants’ geography: 150 registrations from Dnipro, Kyiv, Kamyansky, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv, Rivne, Mykolayiv, Volnovakha and Kramatorsk. From 16 projects, the expert jury chose the winners — EUROAVIA and FireWay teams from Kyiv — which represented Ukraine on the international stage.
This online special event was organized by NASA in collaboration with the European Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the Canadian Space Agency and the French National Center for Space Studies, and joined by Noosphere for our local presence. The hackathon was dedicated to the global consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. From around the world, the Space Apps COVID-19 Challenge was joined by more than 15,000 participants who addressed one of 12 assigned tasks. In Ukraine, participants included Dr. Igor Khanin, thinker, prominent scientist, Noosphere advisor on strategy and development in science and technology. He wrote about noospheric thinking and COVID-19.
We also organized our own online initiative dedicated to the global pandemic — BestRoboFest Quarantine, where 13 young engineers presented projects that will be useful during a pandemic.
This year, Noosphere introduced VEX constructors in Ukraine for the first time! With this, young inventors had the opportunity to try their hand at designing and programming. The robotics competition was held among middle school students of the city of Dnipro and gathered more than 400 participants. As part of the event, we conducted 4 online workshops with Noosphere Engineering School mentors, donated 10 VEX constructors and awarded a prize pool of $ 6,000 among the three finalists.
The Noosphere Engineering School’s rocket and space tournament was held for the fifth time, but the first year in an online format. 37 participants from Dnipro, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv and Cherkasy joined the commemorative innovation competition and presented 13 projects to the jury. The three winners shared a prize fund of UAH 25,000 and were given the opportunity to continue their developments at the Noosphere Engineering School.
This was the first year Noosphere joined the European Space Agency’s international space innovation competition as a local organizer in Dnipro. The hackathon took place virtually and gathered 104 participants. For 24 hours, they addressed one of the assigned tasks related to the problems of our planet and the development of outer space. The winners of the local phase of the competition will go on to represent Ukraine on the international stage.
2020 will also be remembered for rocket model events. In September, the 29th Ukrainian Rocket Modeling Championship was held at the Kamyanka airfield in Dnipro with the support of Noosphere. The championship gathered 44 participants from 8 regions of the country. Experienced and novice athletes competed in 7 classes, and the definitive champions were rocket modelers from the “Nizhyn station of young technicians”. An exceptional moment was the launch of a model replica of the American Mercury Redstone rocket, with a height of 2 m 30 cm executed by Nizhyn athlete Serhiy Shulyak. This is the largest replica ever designed by Ukrainian rocket modelers.
As all international rocket modeling competitions were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the American team took the initiative to hold a competition in the format of an online meet. We were very happy to support this initiative. Representatives of 4 countries joined the meet: the USA, Ukraine, Belarus and India, and the results were calculated using the CupNavigator program developed by Noosphere in partnership with FAI. Ukrainians were victorious in the most difficult class of S7 rocket scale replicas.
It is especially important to maintain your health during a global pandemic. In our opinion, the first step to strengthening immunity is sport. Every year Noosphere holds many sporting events, but in 2020 they were also in an online format. 371 participants joined our activities, including IT specialists, technical students and freelancers. Together we bowled, battled for the title of best chess player, arranged real-life karting races, kayaked, finished quests and even looked for ‘real’ mobsters among civilians during an online game of Mafia.
In 2020, together with the Aerospace Museum Center for Youth Culture and Education, we continued the reconstruction of the Dnipro Planetarium to promote science among children and adults. The Planetarium now has an exhibition space and a space laboratory, and the halls are equipped with a modern projection system. In the final days of the year, the Planetarium began working on a test mode.
Spring of 2020 was an opportunity for mentors and students of the Engineering School to take part in the search for the remnants of the Lazarevska Church in Dnipro. After conducting a georadar survey, our specialists developed a 3D image of the church foundation, which made it possible to find the burial of the “father” of Dnipro, patron and prominent resident of the city Olexandr Pol. From this experience grew the idea of a new project combining innovative technologies and classic archaeology. In the summer, the Noosphere Archeology Laboratory joined the expedition to Mamai Gora, one of the largest and oldest burial sites in Europe, located in the Zaporizhzhia region.
This year, we continued to work on improving Gagarin Park in the Dnipro. In 2020, we held a competition for designing bird feeders, organized a seasonal photo area, planted 36 trees, created the Planet of Knowledge art installation, set up an emergency call network for security or police, and developed interactive elements on the walkways in the form of QR codes.
To continue the modernization of the park, we launched the social initiative Noosphere Art Rocket Park. This initiative combines an art competition and a rocket sculpture exhibit. 12 rockets, painted by Ukrainian artists, will be installed in Gagarin Park. The Noosphere Art Rocket Park exhibition is unique, as our sculptures are the largest among the exhibits of similar art projects and festivals in Ukraine. The height of each rocket is 1.5 m.
In November 2021, the rocket sculptures will be sold at a charity auction, and the proceeds will be invested in the restoration of the park.
Whatever corrections were made to Noosphere’s flight plan, this year we were able not only to hold events online and offline, but also launch new initiatives.
Thank you to everyone who joined us at Noosphere events as a participant, partner, volunteer or expert. See you in 2021!