School children across Britain are getting the chance to grow seeds which have travelled in space after the Royal Horticultural Society joined forces with astronaut Tim Peake on the International Space Station for a gardening experiment.
The out-of-this-world rocket seeds are currently orbiting the Earth at 17,000 mph aboard the Space Station. They return to earth next month with NASA astronaut Scott Kelly before being divided up into packs of 100 seeds and given to up to half a million children at thousands of schools around the country to grow alongside ordinary, earth-bound rocket seeds. Classroom scientists from primary and secondary schools will monitor the seedlings closely, measuring their growth and development over a 35-day period and carefully recording their results. After the data is submitted online, UK Space Agency experts can then compare the two. The resulting information then feeds in to current research projects on board the Space Station and down here on earth, from learning about how conditions on Earth affect plant growth, to sustaining human life in space on, say, a manned mission to Mars.
It’s not too late to sign up your school for the Rocket Science project, which is accepting new participants until the seeds return to Earth again. Register your interest at https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/Competitions/Rocket-Science-Application-Form.