On the way to Mars

TAMK participated in the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA’s Epic Challenge project, which studied challenges of colonising Mars. One of the project’s top moments took place in the Finnish Science Centre Heureka on 10 May when the project participants had the chance to meet NASA’s astronaut Timothy Kopra.

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Project participants in Heureka. Back row from left Juha Hyytiäinen, LAMK’s Epic Challenge coordinator; TAMK’s coordinator Antti Perttula (second from left); Timothy Kopra (fifth from left); Dawn Kopra (sixth from left), and TAMK’s teacher Tomi Salo (back row, first from right)

Astronaut Kopra lectured on his work in the International Space Station ISS to a full auditorium. Kopra told about his latest six-month space journey and related research on the planned journey to Mars. Timothy Kopra, who is of Finnish descent, thinks it is possible that the journey to Mars will take place in the 2030s.

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Timothy Kopra told about his space journeys in Heureka with his wife Dawn Kopra.

Students and teachers from the higher education institutions participating in the Epic Challenge programme attended the event in Heureka. The atmosphere of the event was warm. The students had the chance to present their one-year project results.

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TAMK’s students Jessica Mattila (left) and Polina Petrova presented their project to Kopra.

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TAMK’s student Catherine Fait presented their project to Kopra.

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TAMK’s student Svetlana Rybina was part of a student group that developed a test chamber suitable to Mars.

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Astronaut Charles Camarda wants to continue the Finnish cooperation. In the photo from left teacher Tomi Salo from TAMK, Charles Camarda, and student Polina Petrova from TAMK.

Mars colonisation was also a topic at the SciFest 2017 event in Joensuu on 12 May 2017. In the learning environment symposium the Epic Challenge teams of Joensuu and TAMK introduced themselves and met the father of the Epic Challenge programme, astronaut Charles Camarda and Timothy Kopra. This year’s Epic Challenge programme ended but NASA’s astronauts are interested in continuing the Finnish cooperation.

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Coordinator of the Epic Challenge programme, Principal Lecturer Heikki Immonen from Karelia University of Applied Sciences received a Finnish flag which has been in space twice from Timothy Kopra.

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Continuation of the Epic Challenge programme was planned in the amazing scenery of Koli. From left Charles Camarda, Timothy Kopra, Dawn Kopra, and Antti Perttula.

In addition to TAMK, the University of Eastern Finland, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, North Karelia College, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Town of Joensuu, and Savo Consortium for Education participate in the Epic Challenge programme.

Text and photos: Antti Perttula, Principal Lecturer, Degree Programme in Mechanical Engineering, Leader of TAMK’s NASA Challenge project

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