Announcing the first ever European Astro Pi Challenge!

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Right now, 400km above the Earth aboard the International Space Station, are two very special pieces of hardware. Two Raspberry Pi computers are currently orbiting our planet, each equipped with a Sense HAT, a camera and a special aluminium flight case – and children all over Europe have the chance to program them.

Astro_Pi_1-01

Last year, in collaboration with the European Space Agency and the UK Space Agency, we ran a competition that allowed students all over the UK to design experiments to run on the Astro Pi units. We sent their code into space with British ESA astronaut Tim Peake, who had a great time running all their programs. The data collected was then transmitted back down to Earth, so the winners of the competition – and everyone else – could analyse the results of their experiments as well.

Tim is safely back on Earth now, but French ESA Astronaut Thomas Pesquet is soon launching to the ISS, and he’s keen to see what students from all over Europe can do with the Astro Pi units too. So ESA, together with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, are launching a brand-new Astro Pi Challenge, and this time it’s open to children from every ESA member country.

Earthlights 2002

Children from across Europe can enter the European Astro Pi Challenge
Photo: Earthlights 2002 by NASA

This is an amazing opportunity for students all over Europe. What better way to learn about computing, science, and space than actually being able to run your very own experiments on board the International Space Station? Imagine being able to say that you played a part in a real ESA mission, that programs you wrote were executed in orbit, and that results from your experiments were analysed by children all over the world!

If you’re a teacher or a student from an ESA member country, this is how you can take part:

  1. Assemble your mission team, which must include at least one support teacher as well as students under the age of 16.
  2. Use the Mission Plan Template to design a sample mission that showcases your approach to running a space mission, and demonstrates that you can break down your big idea into specific steps. Note that you don’t need to address the challenge at this stage. Submit your mission plan and register your participation**.
  3. If you’re picked to continue to the next phase, you will┬áreceive an Astro Pi kit and a mission challenge designed by Thomas Pesquet to test your team’s ingenuity and skills.
  4. If your solutions are picked, then your code will be beamed up to the ISS, installed on the Astro Pi units, and run by Thomas Pesquet.

To help you learn all about the Astro Pi units and gain the skills to use a Raspberry Pi equipped with a Sense HAT, we have a variety of resources that you can begin to work your way through. Just go to our resources section and have a look through the Astro Pi and Sense HAT resources. Even if you don’t have a Sense HAT yourself, you can still learn how to use one with either the stand-alone, desktop Sense HAT emulator or Trinket’s web-based emulator.

For further information, including important dates, please see the Teacher’s Corner page on the ESA website.

** Related links:

21 comments

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Fantastic news.

We’ve been waiting for this in France. So proud of our ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet already – we can’t wait for his lift-off. Fun too hearing him speak in English (as so used to seeing him recently on French TV).

Vive Astro Pi and Coding in European schools! More exciting adventures for Izzy and Ed ahead. =o)

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Fantastic

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Next, there needs to be one in the US…

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Is it open to home ed groups?

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Hi Mary-Ann, I’m checking this with ESA but all previous Astro Pi competitions have welcomed home educated students. I would be very surprised if the answer is no but I will confirm with them and leave another comment here.

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Thank you!

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I confirm that home educated students are eligible.

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Bon Chance Thomas ! Great to see the Astros are being used again during another mission !

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Hai! i am raman.

I will have done any one of the raspberry pi project. so, can i do make any other project.

I have some componants such as like that….

1.Raspberry pi3 model B
2.SD card (16 GB)
3.HDMI cable
4.VGA cable
5. Laptop (dell)
6. Wifi-dapter and also other components is there. Now what we do?

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The teams selected for phase 2 will receive an Astro Pi Kit and only those teams can take part in phase 2.

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That’s great news. I think a lot of potential european participants have been waiting for this. Next is the global inviation to participate i hope.

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Hi,

I am Srilalitha M Srinivasan from India. I love programming on Rasp Pi with my cousin and would like to be part of this competition. Nevertheless, best of luck for all students of the ESA member country.

Cheers,

Srilalitha

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I am very big fun of Astro Pi. So I made the translation to Slovak language. I also made a translation of Registration form. You can make it official if you wish. I will promote the Proxima project back here in Slovakia and Czech Republic as much as I will be able. Looking forward to see outcomes and hope my country will contribute to them.
http://www.picobot.net/sk/content/proxima-astro-pi-pre-cel%C3%BA-eur%C3%B3pu

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In the word doc, by “mission” does it mean something like the prev. Astro Pi challenge?

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It can be any made up mission :)

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Can you sign up from ECS countries?

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I organise an after school activity on robotics in a secondary school. Is it possible for the group I am working with to participate in the competition with myself as a teacher although I am not a teacher in the school?

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Hi Eli, since your activity takes place on school property I would suggest you get one the teachers from the school to let you put their name on the form. That then makes everything easy in terms of receiving things in the post (like the kit).

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Thank you!

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Does the mission you create have to actually be possible or is it just any idea at all? I’m slightly unsure as to what is actually being asked of us.

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My understanding is that it has to be actually possible – good luck!

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