Budding scientists think DataFest18 Highlands and Islands is out of this world

The sky is the limit for a group of creative Highland schoolchildren who are exploring how data from space could help shape life the Highlands.

On Tuesday 20 March computer coding club, CodeInverness, will be holding their own DataFest18 fringe event – Highlands from Space. 

At the session the group will look at data sources that are being sent down from satellites orbiting the Earth.  By looking at how information is gathered and processed they’ll think about practical ways to use it, for instance whether you can identify the best spot in the Highlands for growing plants. 

The group will also take a look at a 3D printed satellite and think about how we might use the sensors within it.  

The group of youngsters aged 8-16, are no strangers to space exploration. They’ve recently been selected to have their code run as part of the international ‘Astro Pi’ mission. Organised by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the European Space Agency and French space agency CNES, students competed to come up with the best idea for a computer-written code.

Previous winning ideas have seen astronauts photographed at work by a camera triggered by humidity sensors, the transformation of the Astro Pi to a MP3 player, and the collection of radiation data. All of this is done using the Astro Pi, which is a small credit card sized Raspberry Pi computer, with adiitional camera and sensors attached.

CodeInverness.jpg

Club organiser Robert Fraser said: “CodeInverness is a great way for youngsters to find out about science and technology in a fun way.  They can use state of the art equipment to explore coding, computer programming and technology in a way that fits their own interests.

‘Our lego robot sessions are hugely popular. And recently our first hackathon – six hours of intensive coding - built the program for our Astro Pi entry which could take and analyse images of Earth from aboard the International Space Station.”