Mars simulation photo wins student competition

26 October 2011

A photograph of a project in the Utah desert that simulates the environment on Mars has taken first prize in a UCL student photography competition.

Angeliki Kapoglou (UCL Space and Climate Physics), who took the photo, is studying for an MSc student in Systems Engineering Management.

In spring 2011, she served as a member of an international crew on the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), which simulates the environment on Mars in the Utah desert to develop the knowledge needed to prepare for human exploration on the Red Planet.

She said: “This photo was taken during our mission there, after an extravehicular activity (EVA) outside the Hab station. It is very hard to press the shutter and take a photo while wearing such big gloves and a helmet!

“I really cannot exaggerate the beauty of the surroundings we found ourselves in at the Mars Desert Research Station. The colours, especially near sunset, were just indescribable – beauty in all directions.”

The competition, held over the summer by UCL Communications, asked students to submit photos on Flickr that demonstrated how UCL students contribute to society as global citizens.

In particular, the judges were looking for images that illustrated one or several of the following qualities:
•    critical and creative thinking
•    ambition, with a commitment to ethical and socially responsible behaviour
•    sensitivity to cultural difference and appreciation of the value of cultural difference in intellectual and social contexts
•    adoption of leadership roles in the family, community or workplace
•    employability and readiness for professional mobility.

Gavino Strebel (UCL Geography) was one of two runners-up in the competition. His entry, ‘Western Dreams’, is an image of The Place, a shopping centre in central Beijing with the biggest LED screen in the world, which cost £21 million to build.

Gavino said: “The shopping centre and its surroundings are built by copying a western architectural style and creating a street life that is typical to western metropolises such as Paris and Rome.

“According to my Chinese friend, this is a popular place for dating, but for me it’s more a symbol of a lifestyle that many Chinese aspire to. Between advertisements, the LED screen shows a clip on future Chinese Moon and Mars landings.”

Lea Gimpel (UCL Scandinavian Studies) submitted ‘Peasant carrying branches, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2011’. She said: “This is part of a series of portraits I took while on a trip in Ethiopia. I believe it is by meeting its people that you learn about a country and its culture. And this is what I did.

“This woman carries kilos of eucalyptus branches for the fire oven, or to sell. She, like many others, goes up a very high hill for a couple of kilometres and carries the very heavy weight back home.”

Angeliki receives a £50 Amazon voucher for her winning entry, while Lea and Gavino both receive £25 vouchers.

UCL Communications coordinates a photostream on Flickr that covers all aspects of life at the university from research and events to student activities.

The team is always keen to receive images for consideration. Please email digital-comms@ucl.ac.uk

Image: Walking on Mars by Angeliki Kapoglou

Mars simulation in the Utah desert



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