Amulya Kollipara | Staff Writer
Cosmic Con’s much-awaited event, Wow Factor, returned better than ever, with over 310 entries. The participants, in teams of 2 or 3, were required to encode and decode messages according to the pictures and cypher sheet provided. “The turnout of the event was so much more than expected. We wouldn’t have had the same response if it were on campus“, said Core Committee member, Caroline Thomas.
The event was divided into three rounds with time playing a significant role in all of them. Each round was two hours long, with the first one being an aptitude test. It consisted of 20 questions, each carrying 0.5 points, some of which were quite brain-wracking. With the end of this round, 13 teams were allowed to proceed into the crux of the event.
Round 2 consisted of two sets, each lasting 45 minutes. In the first set, participants were given pictures related to space and were required to create and encode a message using the cypher sheet provided. There was a broad range of cyphers that they could choose from and encrypt their message in. The second set had contestants deciphering the text related to a picture given. By the end of the second round, six teams qualified for the finale.
In the final round, each team was given a set of images with an encoded text. Their rival teams had formulated these messages in the previous round. The contestants were also provided with the cypher name as well a keyword to help them decode the messages.
The winning team was a group of three first years. “It felt so amazing. I had the drive to win this, but I really did not expect it as we are freshers. This competition helped me realise my potential. I’m eager to participate in more such events conducted in the future“, said Sharanya Prabhu, a first-year student of Computer Science Engineering, and member of the winning team.
Sai Ramcharan Gunda | Staff Writer
This three-day event, held online for the first time, managed to garner 19 teams from all over the country—four times the turnout of the previous year. The first round comprised an hour-long written test on Astronomy and Astrobiology that had questions of all levels and gave the participants a run for their money.
For the second round, the event heads had designed four different planets with varying environment, atmosphere, and temperature, among other factors. Participants had to create the best species that could thrive on the planet they had chosen. Keeping all necessary factors in mind, contestants came up with an enormous number of creatures ranging from the weird to the magical. Teams were judged based on the compatibility of their species with the given planetary conditions, and the most apt ones booked their tickets to the final round.
The third and final round saw the last two teams in a head-to-head battle for the winning title. One group played the role of attacker, attempting to destroy the opponent’s planet, while the other had to resist the attack, discussing the characteristics of their species. Finally, after an hour-long battle, one team emerged winner by conquering the other’s planet.
“The event had asked for imagination and creativity for the answers. Some of the descriptions we got were quite funny, ranging from ‘This species doesn’t need to breath’ and ‘trees growing on rocky planets’ to high-tech answers with complicated terms”, quoted Pratyaksha Pathak, an organizer for the event.
Houston in the Blind
Renuka Basawa | Staff Writer
Houston in the Blind was a two-day event—the main attraction for all aerospace enthusiasts. Participants took on the role of a member of a scientific advisory team accompanying a troop of astronauts on a space exploration research trip. The qualifying Round 1 required the contestants to choose from a list of items they would prefer to have on board with them on a spaceship with limited capacity. The list had a wide spectrum of choices ranging from bio-augmented skin material and a backup communication system to a 3D printer robot that made pizza. This put their theoretical knowledge to test where they had to justify their choices with a valid reason for each. “60+ teams have registered for the event out of which 10 teams will proceed to round 2“, said organiser Hiren Gupta.
Round 2 surprised the teams with an emergency situation on their research trips. The contestants had to present a flawless solution for their situation, come up with apt reasoning for the same, and make it through the cross questioning of the event heads.
The final presentation round was a solid test of teamwork. The presentations were judged thoroughly on the basis of various criteria like conduct and effectiveness of the solution. With critical analysis, practical knowledge of space, and perfect coordination, only the smartest could make it to the end and be declared as the winning team.
The virtual mode could not diminish the enthusiasm this event was filled with. When clubbed with its systematic conduct, Houston in the blind was a tremendous success.
Featured Image Credits: Social Media and Graphics, TechTatva’20