The EO Detective competition gave children around the UK the opportunity to win a photograph taken especially for them from the ISS. The competition was launched at the Royal Institution on 24 October 2015 and ran until February 2016. prizes were awarded at a ceremony at the National Space Centre on 1 October 2016.

Entrants were asked to explain where on Earth they would like an astronaut to photograph and why. There were around a thousand entries coming from Inverness to the Isle of Wight, from Belfast to Norwich, and an extra category had to be added for younger children. (Many adults wanted to join in too!)

Selecting the winners was difficult because of the wide range of locations and the interesting reasons entrants gave for choosing them, but the judges eventually decided on one from each category – although they insisted on having some runners-up too.

The requests from the four winners were sent to NASA and on to the astronauts in the ISS. Of course, in order to get the photographs, the station has to be passing over the right part of the Earth, at the right time of day, and the weather conditions have to be right too. Because of this, the crew did not manage to photograph all of the locations by the time we wanted to award the prizes, but they are still trying and we will pass on the specially-taken photographs as they become available.

In the meantime – and for the runners-up – we found photographs taken from the ISS, or satellite images, of the right areas and sent them to Tim to sign before framing them to make the prizes.

You can see the winning images, and read some more about each of them, on the following posts:


Age 4–7

Samuel Gower from Fairfield Academy, Grimsby: Rainforest near Manaus, Brazil – to look at deforestation

Age 7–11

Loke Egede-Poulsen from Tilehurst: Lake Eyre, South Australia – to see what it looks like, full for the first time in years

Age 11–14

Zak Hughes from North Yorkshire: Al Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan – to compare with empty desert a few years ago

Age 14–16

Sebastian Steiner from Virginia Water: Fair Oaks, Indiana – to investigate methane emissions near pig farms


Age 4–7

Eleanor Rayner from Hagley (in Reception, so one of the youngest entrants): Knysna, South Africa – to see if it’s possible to see the elephants

Lance Howell from Codsall:  The Pyramids – to show his teacher you can see man-made things from space and look at swirling sand

George James Lever from Richard Taylor Church of England Primary School, Harrogate: Angel Falls, Venezuela – to find out if they are visible and if you can see how fast the water flows

Age 7–11

Nicolás Maravall from Westdene Primary School, Brighton: Leticia and Tabatinga, where three countries meet in the Amazon – to see if you can see differences in deforestation between the countries

Elodie Biegman from Kensington Prep School, London: Central Beijing at night – to look at light pollution

Age 11–14

Cordelia Lamming from Wycombe Abbey School, High Wycombe: Inle Lake, Burma – to see if global warming and increasing tourism have affected water levels and the region around the lake

Age 14–16

Stephen Hughes from All Hallows Catholic College, Macclesfield: The Great Green Wall, Senegal – to see if it is affecting temperature and soil moisture levels