Mission Zero

offers students and young people the chance to have their computer programs run in space on the ISS as part of the European Astro Pi Challenge! Teams write a simple program to display a message to the astronauts onboard. Every participant will receive a certificate with the time and date their code was executed. View the Mission Zero Project Resource to get started.
Teachers and mentors can register for a classroom code for free here.
  • Only use required and allowed modules. The sense_hat module must be used. The random and time module may be used as well.
  • Your program is over 1000 characters of text. Try making it a bit shorter.
  • Don't use input or wait for events. Your program shouldn't rely on input from a person.
  • Check your program for improper language.

To submit your program, you'll need to:

  • read the temperature from the sensor,
  • use the LED matrix,
  • and run your program without any errors.

Qualified submissions will run for 30 seconds on the International Space Station.

00:00
Classroom Code

Once your program is ready, enter your classroom code here to continue to the official submission form.

Looks like your program isn't ready yet. Check the list above.

How to Take Part

Who can take part in Mission Zero? Anyone who is:

  • 14 years or younger
  • In a team of two to four
  • Supervised by a teacher or mentor who has registered and has a classroom code
Additionally, 50% or more of the team’s members need to be citizens of an ESA Member/Associate member State . For more information, check out the Mission Zero Guidelines .

Follow these steps to get started:

1. Write your program

Your program should read the temperature and display information using the LEDs. Visit the Mission Zero Project Resource for a full walkthrough including examples, animations, videos and more.

2. Enter Your Classroom Code

Your teacher or supervising adult will give you a short classroom code. Enter it in the provided space.
Educators, parents, and other supervising adults can register for a free classroom code here.

3. Submit

Once you've passed all the checks, click the button to go to the official submission form. Enter your team name and other information, which will be used to generate your certificate.

Once reviewed and accepted, your code will run for up to 30 seconds on one of the International Space Station's Raspberry Pi computers! Your registered teacher or mentor will receive official confirmation of this and a certificate from the Astro Pi team.

Ready to go?

Get Coding!  

Frequently Asked Questions

When will submissions be accepted?

Submissions for this year's challenge will be accepted from 29 October 2018 until 20 March 2019.

Where can I find more detailed instructions?

The Mission Zero Project Resource has been created to guide you through the activity. You may want to keep it open in a separate window or tab for easy reference.

What if my program goes over 30 seconds?

Each submission will have up to 30 seconds of runtime in space. After 30 seconds, the program will be automatically stopped. The timer will help you see how much of your program will run during this time. If your program uses a while loop or takes longer than 30 seconds to finish, use the Stop button to halt the execution of your program so that you can submit it.

I'm getting an error! What do I do?

First, don't panic! Errors are a normal part of programming: they just indicate that the computer is confused.

The emulator should highlight the line on which the error is occurring. Check for any missing punctuation like missing commas, brackets and colons. Failing that, simply typing the error message into a search engine will quickly find an answer.

How can I view my past submissions?

Registered teachers or mentors will receive an email confirmation from the Astro Pi team for each submission that uses their code. You will also be provided with a link to your trinket after submitting your work to the Astro Pi: Mission Zero Challenge. You can save, bookmark, or send this link to someone else to show off your entry!

What if I still have questions?

Please refer to the Mission Zero Guidelines for full program rules. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for there, please get in touch at astropi@esa.int

Ready to go?

Get Coding!  

Have More Questions?

Full FAQ