Tim Peake Holds Cosmic Classroom, Runs 'Astro Pi' Coded By UK Students


After becoming the first UK-born astronaut to carry out a spacewalk, International Space Station crew member Tim Peake took on his next challenge while in space: a question-and-answer session with a group of schoolchildren.

The European Space Agency astronaut participated in a live chat event held at the World Museum in Liverpool on Tuesday, where he was quizzed by 25 students from 10 schools in the United Kingdom.

One of the students taking part in the interview was 8-year-old Rhys Maguire-Stokes from Blaenymaes Primary. He sent his question to Peake through a tweet because there was no more time left to ask his question live.

"How did it feel to walk in space?" Maguire-Stokes said in his message.

Amy Smith, a class teacher from Maguire-Stokes' school said that while they were not able to throw their question during the live video feed, they've already tweeted the message and are waiting for Peake's reply.

She said that the children had a wonderful time at the event, and when they were able to see Peake on the video screen, their faces lit up.

Blaenymaes Primary was among the schools chosen by the Times Education Supplement to take part in the "Cosmic Classroom" event. The school named Maguire-Stokes as its representative, according to Smith.

Another student asked Peake about the things that he could see from the ISS's windows.

"I have got a window right behind me – let me go take a look," Peake said as he turned from the camera and floated toward one of the windows to see what was outside. This caused the children to burst into laughter.

"At the moment we are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean coming up to the coast of Africa with the beautiful colors of the Sahara Desert."

Ten-year-old Matthew Savage from St. Anne's Fulshaw CE Primary in Cheshire asked Peake if he has ever been by meteors while on the ISS.

Peake said that they do experience getting hit by small objects, some of which even cause damage, but that "clever people on earth" helped make sure that astronauts like him were safe while in space.

Aside from being able to answer the children's questions, the live event also allowed Peake to engage with other students online through the use of an Astro Pi computer. This device was designed and built by British students using Raspberry Pi boards and the Python program as part of the Astro Pi Programming Competition.

Two Astro Pi computers were delivered to the space station on Dec. 6 for Peake's use during his six-month stay on the orbital facility.

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