Astro Pi Lets Kids Run Their Programs in Space

What's better than an experiment? An experiment in space!
Michael Michael (110)
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A partnership between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Raspberry Pi Foundation led to the creation of the Astro Pi project in 2016. 2020-2021 sees the program return revamped with many new options for kids to get involved.

Until March 2021, children and their mentors who meet the eligibility requirements and live in ESA member states can submit their coded experiments to run on the International Space Station. If you live in the U.S., then you can follow along at the ESA news site, where you can view the winners of last year's competition.

Watch as Thomas Pesquet, ESA Astronaut, kicks off the competition.

Here are the two Astro Pi missions for kids to choose from.

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Astro Pi Mission Zero
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For beginners, or those who only have about an hour to spare, there's Mission Zero.

Kids learn to create a simple program that takes a humidity reading on board the International Space Station (ISS) and relays the information to the astronauts with a personalized message.

There's no prior programming knowledge required for this mission. And, best of all, kids are guaranteed to see their experiment run on board the ISS, as long as the programming is solid!

Astro Pi Mission Space Lab
Raspberry Pi Foundation

Teams of 2-6 young adults have greater freedom and creative license with Mission Space Lab. They must design an experiment, within certain parameters, to run in space.

The mission involves four separate stages:

  1. Design: teams design the experiment
  2. Create: teams program the experiment
  3. Deploy: top experiments are deployed on the ISS
  4. Analyze: teams get the results of their experiments

The winning teams all get a sweet Astro Pi kit to test out their experiment here on Earth!