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St Nicolas CE Junior School pupils win International Space Station competition

Youngsters impress European Space Agency scientists

Chris Ord


01635 886639

St Nicolas CE Junior School pupils win International Space Station competition

PUPILS at St Nicolas CE Junior School were over the moon after winning a competition to have their idea for an experiment run on the International Space Station.

The group of 11 children, dubbed The Kepler Kids, suggested using the station’s computers to measure the magnetic force of Earth while in orbit after entering the European Astro PI Challenge.

The idea was shortlisted for the international competition meaning the seven- to 11-year-olds were then asked to write the computer code for the experiment, with the help of a programme provided by boffins at the ESA (European Space Agency).

And, after again impressing the ESA with the written code, their experiment was selected to run on the ISS along with four others from UK schools.

Deputy headteacher at St Nicolas CE Junior School, Kath Burns, said The Kepler Kids (named after the Kepler Space Observatory – itself named after 17th-century astronomer Johannes Kepler) had worked exceptionally hard for the competition.

She said: “The judges felt that our Mission 2 idea was one of the most original ideas they had seen, and we were congratulated on our amazing work.

“It involved using the magnetometer, attached to the Pi, to measure the magnetic force of Earth, while orbiting Earth. 

“The children have coded the experiment which will run or ‘fly’ on the International Space Station, by May 15 – an achievement that many scientists can only dream of.

“It’s a unique and amazing prize. 

“The ESA received 180 entries from across the UK alone. Hopefully, this is the beginning of further achievements for our future top scientists.”

The code will be run on the ISS before May 15, under the supervision of ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet.

The data collected will then be beamed back to the group to analyse at school.

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