Your Code in Spaaace!
February 5, 2016 6:58 AM   Subscribe

In the ISS there are two Astro Pi computers, Ed and Izzy, equipped with Sense HATs, two different camera modules (visual and IR), and stored in rather special cases. They are now running code written by UK school children - the winners of a competition. The data will be feeding back soon!

Inspired? If you're a UK child aged from 8-18, you can enter two new music-based coding challenges. Also, after the current set of programs have been run, the Astro Pi machines will be entering flight recording mode, recording sensor readings (including pitch, roll, yaw, rotational intensity, acceleration, humidity, pressure, temperature and magnetic field strength) into a database every 10 seconds. Example data is available now, so you can prepare for the real thing becoming available in late February / March. Can you detect crew activity, O2 repressurisation, the South Atlantic Anomaly or even a CHX dry-out?

The winners of the previous competition:
  • Crew Detector - tries to determine if a crew member is nearby and then takes a photo
  • Spacecraft - visualise the sensor data as structures in a Minecraft world
  • Flags - Figure out where the ISS is above and shows the flag of the country
  • Watchdog - Monitors the environment, raising alarms if temperature / pressure / humidity move outside acceptable parameters. Compensates for the thermal transfer between the sensors and the CPU
  • Uses the IR camera to produce a measure of plant health
  • Reaction Games - tests reaction speeds during the mission to see if this changes over time
  • Radiation - uses the camera to detect high-energy space radiation
posted by Stark (3 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
> If you're a UK child aged from 8-18,...

Stop taunting me!!

But seriously, Yay for kids coding single-board computers, and kids sending stuff into space. I guess the UK part is because Raspberry Pi is based out of Wales, which surprised me when I learned it, but really why not.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:57 AM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

So nifty.

The Flags program checks current latitude and longitude to estimate which country the ISS is flying over (assumes countries are rectangular) and has little bitmaps in the code for each flag!
posted by ignignokt at 9:59 AM on February 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

The Raspberry Pi was designed as a conceptual successor to the very successful BBC Micro, which helped produce a generation of tech-literate UK programmers and hardware designers. It's also based on the ARM processor architecture, which came from the company which designed the Beeb and which is undoubtedly the UK's most enduring contribution to modern consumer technology (if you overlook Alan Turing).

It is, however, particularly pleasing that most of the actual manufacturing has moved back to the UK from China. Imagination and determination can get you a long way in the face of received wisdom.
posted by Devonian at 10:07 AM on February 5, 2016 [4 favorites]

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