Exoplants team

Pelopium Lyceum, Greece

Stathis Biritis is a student of the Lyceum of Pelopio and he was the leader of the Exoplants team. Stathis dreams to become a chemist and to help the world advance and become a better place to live in. His interest on space is strongly connected to his aspirations, as he believes that the solution to the big human challenges may be hiding out there.

In his free time, Stathis usually browses the web to learn more about science and technologies. He participates in every single extra curriculum event organised by his school and in the past he has entered many other contests, winning some major awards.

"I am really honoured that my team managed to win in a Pan-European contest and I would certainly like to participate in more educational competitions."

Antigoni Georgiopoulou is a student of the Pelopium Lyceum. In her free time Antigoni listens to music and reads novels. She also enjoys working out and outdoor cycling. Odysseus was her first ever participation in an educational contest.

Dimitra Koufi is a student at the Lyceum of Pelopio. She was the last member to join the Exoplants, one month after the coach and Stathis created the team, but she immediately felt part of the group. In her free time Dimitra watches TV series and movies or she is running in her village.

"This contest renewed my power and filled me up with wonderful dreams once again."

Eleni Chrysikopoulou is a student of Pelopium Lyceum. She has entered several competitions in the past, but this was the first time that she won a prize. Eleni says that now she feels full of confidence and energy and her next goal is to become a pilot.

IIoannis (Yiannis) Kakalis is a student of the Pelopium Lyceum. His main interest is photography and he would like to become an Astrophotographer. This is the reason for his strong interest on space and science. In his free time apart from photography Yiannis likes to go out with friends. His next goal is to take a shot of a rocket taking off from launch pad.

"When I started my career in secondary education, I realized that one of the fundamental sciences, Astronomy, was not included in the basic analytical program. I was really impressed knowing that the basic astronomical questions lead scientists like Kepler, Newton, Einstein and Higgs to reveal the fundamentals of Physics. Since then I am trying to promote Astronomy and to raise my students' interest on it".

Mr. Chiotelis is a Physicist in Pelopio Lyceum. He was invited researcher for three years at the Institute for Polymer Research, Dresden, Germany. He has participated in more than 20 Scientific Conferences and he has been honored with honorable mention for the pioneering introduction of new technologies in education (September 2009) and with the Poster Award at the 10th Conference of Solid-State Physics and Materials Science, 28-31 August 2005, Nicosia, Cyprus. Mr Chiotelis holds a 1st level certified knowledge in the use of ICT in teaching practice and in 2012 he was the winner of the National Competition of Educational Path based on the model of Inquiry Based Learning.

"The Odysseus Contest was a unique opportunity to reinforce our willingness to learn. It was really a magical journey to space exploration via research and inquiry based methods that continues."

The Exoplants team let their experiments lead them to new questions and new answers about life in earth and in other planets. For a few months they worked hard, collecting all experimental data, searching in the bibliography, writing, correcting and repeating their measurements.

Their future plans are mainly concerning the improvement of their Odysseus experiment. The key question of their project about the color of flowers and plants on another planet can be approached through new experiments. They would also like to extend their studies to other fields of Science, such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Astronomy. The team is keen to cooperate with other schools in their region and they are planning some new interesting research projects.

Project: "What colour would plants have on another planet?"

In the not so distant future, humans will seek to establish colonies on other planets of our solar system or other stellar systems. Before we will settle on another planet, we will need to ensure that we could also have there the necessary for living: oxygen, water and food, including plants. Plants are the organisms that perform the process of photosynthesis, i.e. bind the luminous energy and produce glucose and carbohydrates. What will happen though if we would cultivate plants on a planet without enough light? What kind of plants will grow on a planet that revolves around a star that radiates in the red or the blue? Why the leaves of plants are green when photosynthesis is carried out? Will they grow green on any other planet? To answer all these questions the Exoplants team studied the chlorophyll. They studied the growth of plants under radiation of different wavelengths, as well as in conditions of limited or poor lighting. Finally, they studied the colours of alien plants in the depths of the oceans.