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About Astro Pi

What is Astro Pi?

The European Astro Pi Challenge offers young people the amazing opportunity to conduct scientific investigations in space by writing computer programs that run on Raspberry Pi computers aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

About the computers

The International Space Station (ISS) with Earth in the background.

History

As part of British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia mission (2015–2016) on the ISS, two space-hardened Raspberry Pi computers, called Astro Pis, equipped with environmental sensors, were sent to the ISS and then used to run students’ and young people’s programs, with ISS crew support. As well as Tim, astronauts Thomas Pesquet, Alexander Gerst, David Saint-Jacques (CSA astronaut) and Luca Parmitano have all acted as ambassadors for the challenge.

Astronaut Tim Peake holding an Astro Pi computer

Mark II hardware

Since 2019, the Astro Pi team has been hard at work developing upgraded versions of the Astro Pi hardware. The new hardware will replace the “Ed” and “Izzy” computers that were sent to the ISS with Tim Peake in 2015.

Now, after two years of secret development, the new upgraded Astro Pi VIS and Astro Pi IR computers are ready! They will be used to run teams’ Mission Zero and Mission Space Lab programs as part of the European Astro Pi Challenge 2021/22.

Learn about the sensors

The Astro Pi VIS (left) and Astro Pi IR (right) computers in their flight cases

Impact

  • 15,756
    young people participated in 2020/21
  • 25
    countries participated across Europe and Canada in 2020/21
  • 42.5%
    Female representation across the Astro Pi Challenge 2020/21
  • Increase in Media attention raised the profile of STEM education

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