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Mission Space Lab Guidelines

Everything you need to know to create an experiment idea for Mission Space Lab.

Life on Earth


‘Life on Earth’ experiments investigate life on the planet’s surface using one of the Astro Pi computers, which will be deployed in front of an Earth-facing window on the ISS.

If you choose this theme, you will need to submit an experiment idea that makes use of the Astro Pi’s camera. You need to select the type of photography required for your experiment: you can use the near-infrared camera (with a red optical filter) or the visible-light camera. It is important to note that your entire three-hour experiment will run on one Astro Pi only, so you cannot use both the near-infrared and visible-light cameras. Use of the Astro Pi’s sensors is optional for ‘Life on Earth’ experiments.

More about the Astro Pi computers


Life on Earth rules
  • Your experiment must make use of either the Astro Pi’s near-infrared camera (with a red optical filter) or the visible-light camera and you must understand that the camera does not have thermal imaging capacity to measure the Earth's temperature.
  • Your experiment must not be based on night-time photography only. Most teams that have attempted this in the past ended up with entirely black images that couldn’t be analysed. The new hardware may improve opportunities for night-time photography, but this has not been fully tested at this time.
  • You cannot choose a destination to photograph, as the ISS could be anywhere on its orbit during our three-hour runtime.
  • You must understand that the camera will not be able to pick up detail like cars, roads, or buildings.
  • Your program should not use the Astro Pi’s LED matrix because the Astro Pi will be hooded to prevent stray light spoiling the images taken from the ISS window.

Planning your experiment


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