Pupils to grow out-of this-world space seeds

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Pupils at the Beacon Primary School, Exmouth, are gearing up to become space biologists - growing seeds that have been into space.

In September 2015, two kilogrammes of rocket seeds were flown to the International Space Station (ISS) on Soyuz 44S, to spend several months in microgravity, returning to Earth in March.

The seeds have been sent as part of Rocket Science - an educational project launched by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) campaign for school gardening and the UK Space Agency.

The Beacon School is one of up to 10,000 schools to receive a packet of 100 seeds from space.

Pupils will grow the space seeds alongside seeds that have not left Earth and measure the differences over seven weeks.


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The youngsters will not be told which seed packet has spent time in space until all the results have been collected by the RHS school-gardening team and analysed by professional biostatisticians.

The aim of the out-of-this-world, nationwide science experiment is to enable pupils to think more about how to preserve human life on other planets in the future, what astronauts need to survive long-term missions in space, and the difficulties surrounding growing fresh food in challenging climates.

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Miss Tetley, Beacon Primary School teacher, said staff and pupils were ‘excited’ to take part in the nationwide Rocket Science project.

“This experiment is a fantastic way of teaching our pupils to think more scientifically and share their findings with the whole school,” she said.

Rocket Science is an educational project from a programme developed by the UK Space Agency to celebrate British astronaut Tim Peake’s principal mission to the International Space Station, plus inspire young people to look into careers in science, technology, engineering and maths, as well as horticulture.

Applications to take part in Rocket Science are still open and will close in March 2017 or until all packs have been allocated. Schools and educational groups can apply at www.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening

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