News February 23, 2016
This week will certainly be remembered by a group of students from Joensuu, Finland. On Monday, February 22, 2016, a group of Epic Challenge program students and Valamis employees made a video call to the International Space Station (ISS).
During the call, Tim Kopra, a NASA astronaut, who is of Finnish descent and interested in the Finnish education system, answered students’ questions about sustainable habitation on Mars and the challenges related to it.
As a part of the Epic Challenge program, two teams of students from the University of Eastern Finland, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, North Karelia municipal education and training consortium (Riveria), and Joensuu Normaalikoulu are working together to come up with solutions to challenges related to sustainable habitation on Mars together with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The cooperation project began last spring when NASA became interested in the Finnish education system and the Valamis – Learning Experience Platform developed by Valamis.
Charles Camarda, Sr. Advisor for Engineering Development at NASA and a NASA Astronaut, also took part in the call. Janne Hietala, Chief Commercial Officer at Valamis, is delighted about the successful cooperation with NASA and the video call to the ISS.
“The call was a great experience for us all, but particularly for the Epic Challenge students, who had a unique opportunity to make contact with the NASA astronaut Tim Kopra. This call gave students a new perspective to the challenges they are solving in the Epic Challenge program”, said Hietala.
The representatives of the Epic Challenge teams Red Sandbox and BioMars had created in advance a list of questions that they wanted to put to Mr. Kopra. Team Red Sandbox focuses on problem solving and team BioMars on developing the food supply system on Mars.
“At some point in the middle of the call I realized that we are truly having a conversation with a man, who is in space! It made me think just how far the mankind has come and how far it is possible for us to go”, said Hely Herranen, a computer science student from the University of Eastern Finland.
“This was an extremely interesting and different kind of an experience for us. This isn’t something you get to do every day”, said Mikko Sarajärvi, a computer science student from Karelia University of Applied Sciences.
At the end of the call, Kopra impressed his audience by making an impressive spin in the zero gravity, which really brought home the uniqueness of the call.
Watch Tim Kopra’s downlink video greeting from the International Space Station (ISS) to Epic Challenge students, Valamis, and other partners YouTube: Tim Kopra’s greetings to Finland from the International Space Station.
Chief Commercial Officer, CCO
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Valamis is an internationally growing Liferay developer company specialized in the digitalization of learning. Valamis – Learning Experience Platform provides organizations with a solution for turning the digital transformation of learning into a competitive advantage. The company’s customers are large organizations in both the private and public sectors. With its headquarters in Joensuu, Finland, Valamis has a total of six offices in Finland, the US, and Russia.