Fyling Hall Students Creating Code for Space

Our year 9 students have been learning to program in python. Then we found out about a challenge open to young people in the UK and Europe called Mission Zero. This is a coding challenge created by the European Space Agency and the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It’s a great chance to take computer science at school out beyond the classroom with a fun hour of programming. The students’ code – if successful – will run for up to 30 seconds on board the International Space Station. Fyling Hall students set about entering Mission Zero!

Students’ code will run on a small computer called the Astro Pi. This is used for experiments which far exceed what we have done. However, students will be activating and taking readings from the onboard colour and luminosity sensor. This sensor converts what it sees into three 8 bit numbers. We represent each as the intensity of Red, Green and Blue. Students will create an image along with a theme of Flora and Fauna, which uses the reading from the colour sensor as the image’s background colour.

This challenge is open to anyone up to the age of 19 and even complete beginners will be able to give this a go by following the excellent instructions provided. For our school students it highlights practical applications for coding and computer science beyond school and is an enjoyable challenge for our lessons. We are eagerly awaiting the results!

Running Student’s Code in Space

In May the students’ code will be run in space. In June, students who were successful will receive a certificate stating exactly what time, and above where on the earth, the space station was when their code was run.

Fyling Hall Students are using a design sheet to code. This will enable them to translate a picture of their own design into code that the astro pi can understand. Want to have a go yourself? Why not try it out or even have a go using our school’s design sheet! Contact us if you’d like to learn more about Computer Science, ICT or the other subjects at Fyling Hall School.

Paul Wheeler, Head of Computer Science/ ICT