In December, we watched two brand-new Astro Pi units launch into space for the European Astro Pi challenge. They’re now on board the International Space Station (ISS) ready to run young learners’ Astro Pi Mission Zero code!
What is Astro Pi Mission Zero?
Astro Pi Mission Zero is an engaging beginners’ coding challenge, open to all young people under the age of 19 in ESA member and associate states.
Using the step-by-step instructions young people will write a simple Python programme, which will display a message to the astronauts on board the ISS using the Astro Pi units.
Teacher Sophie Hudson, from Linton-on-Ouse Primary School, shares her experience taking part in Astro Pi Mission Zero, and why the bespoke certificates caused excitement amongst her club members!
“Although it might look daunting, it is actually very manageable! I did complete it myself first so that I knew what to do and had got my head around it. The instructions were very clear and helpful, making it manageable step-by-step.
Make sure you emphasise the real-world impact the activity has – their work is actually going into space!
The certificates were also a big excitement as they were interested to find where on the ISS their code was run.”
Conversations on space
Our fascination with space is universal! Astro Pi Mission Zero gives young coders real-world experience, whilst supporting curriculum learning outside of the classroom.
Inquisitive minds are able to explore space science first-hand, asking questions that matter to them. Educator Ruth Laird from St Paul’s Code Club in York, has had just this experience:
“It makes them more aware of what sort of things happen on the International Space Station and lets them be a part of it too. The excitement on the kid’s faces when you tell them that their code will actually be run there is unbelievable.
Projects like this open up other conversations too. I had kids asking me how the astronauts go to the toilet and what they do with the waste!”
Get ready for blast off
Here are five things to remember before you head to space with Astro Pi Mission Zero:
- You don’t need special equipment or coding skills
- Register your club to take part in Mission Zero
- Plan one to two sessions in the new term to complete your mission
- Club members will receive a special certificate showing exactly where the ISS was when their program ran
- The closing date for entries is Friday 18 March