Pupils design experiments for space station

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.Experiments devised by pupils of Dunstan High School in Alexandra will shortly be run by astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS).

Year 10 pupil Nick Collier (15) said groups within the class created experiments which would run on Cuberider, a Raspberry Pi computer fitted with 12 sensors, allowing pupils to run science experiments on the ISS.

One of the experiments would focus on fluctuations in temperature on the space station, he said.

“At 10-second intervals we are going to measure the temperature on board the ISS, and as it travels around we are going to see if the temperature changes as it enters the light from the Sun.”

The pupils had to create computer code for the experiments to run, Nick said.

“We had to learn how to code, really, so we have been practising that for a few weeks now, learning all the tricks.”

Malia Banks (14) said another experiment would use a magnetometer.

“As it orbits around the Earth it is measuring the strength of the magnetic field.”

Malia was interested to see if there were stronger readings in different parts of the Earth.

“It will be interesting to develop .. it and see what other things you can do,” she said.

It was an “awesome opportunity” to have experiments in space, Nick said.

Maths teacher Michelle Bromby said code the pupils had created would be uploaded to a duplicate Raspberry Pi computer on the ISS, where astronauts would run the experiments and send the raw data back to the class.

The data would be available for them to analyse in about three weeks, she said.