School Children Thinking about Colonizing the Planets

27.03.2017, 17:14

Samara University hosted the 3rd round of “Sputnik”, the All-Russian contest of young engineers and researchers. Fifty young contestants from secondary schools of the Russian Federation, who passed the screening tests, arrived in Samara to present their research projects to the experts. The contest was launched in October 2016 under the aegis of Samara University in partnership with ARTEK International Child Center (ICC) and Zhivaya Klassika (Live Classics) Fund
Rebecca Palumbo Deleta, the 8th former from St.Petersburg School # 115, says: “ The contest consisted of two stages: an online  40 question quiz on outer space and physics and an essay on one of 15 topics related to space exploration. I chose the topic “Colonization of the Moon” as I believe, this Earth satellite is the first priority in the matters of colonization. What I did was writing a tale about a little man who made the first man-made flight to the Moon. My adviser and I examined the Moon surface through the telescope in order to write a true-to-life tale.
The participants visited the university labs, Aviation and Outer Space Museum, Department of Space Research and Centre for Nano-Satellite Testing, and Centre for Receiving Space Signals. In addition, the contestants got an idea of the Small Spacecraft Ground Control and research activities at the Department for Additive Technology and the Department of Metal Forming.
Nadya Vassilyeva from the town of Shumerlya in Chuvash Republic admits:” The exhibits we saw during the excursions were very informative. Visiting the Outer Space Museum was an eye-opening experience as I saw for the first time the genuine spacesuits and cosmonauts’ household items. You see, there is Young Cosmonauts’ Society in Chuvashia, so I  was excited to see the Museum.”
The next day the young researchers presented their reports on the topics which are to be included into the thematic agenda focused on space exploration during the summer camp in Artek. The problems addressed in school projects varied from outer space exploration and modelling a planetokhod (a planet walker) and inter-orbital cargo spacecraft to investigation of the Jupiter. The issue of colonizing the Mars and the other planets was found in a number of projects.
Evgeny Shakmatov, Rector of Samara University, welcomed the participants in the contest and said: “It is challenging for us to impart knowledge which we accumulated in the University. Even more challenging is collaborative knowledge to be gained not only from distinguished scientists but also from young researchers who are facing new vistas in science. I wish you success and good luck”. 
Now the participants are looking forward to the final round of the contest to be held in Artek, one of the best Russian Child Centres. 
Alfiya Sharifullina (INA Samara University)
(Photo: Andrey Kislev, Artyom Onoprienko, photoclub “Illuminator”)