School gets a chance to test space seeds

Pupils at Ormiston Sudbury Academy have received some seeds that have been into space

Pictured: Jodi Mayhew, Eloise Biggadike and Jack Kean - Year 7 ANL-160420-080948009
Pupils at Ormiston Sudbury Academy have received some seeds that have been into space Pictured: Jodi Mayhew, Eloise Biggadike and Jack Kean - Year 7 ANL-160420-080948009
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Pupils from a Sudbury school are sowing ‘space’ seeds this week as part of a nationwide experiment.

Children from the science club at Ormiston Sudbury Academy are comparing growth between seeds that have been stored on earth and some which have been in outer space for six months.

OSA was among more than 8,000 schools which applied for a seed pack to grow for Project Rocket Science, an experiment launched by the Royal Horticultural Society in partnership with the UK Space Agency, and were successful.

OSA principal, Caroline Wilson, said: “It is not often there is a chance to participate in events we hear about in the news.

“To think students will have the opportunity to work with seeds Tim Peake has looked after is an out of this world experience for students.”

Two kilograms of rocket seeds were successfully blasted into space on Soyuz 44S last September with European Space Agency astronaut Andreas Mogensen and his crew, and they arrived on the International Space Station two days later.

British astronaut Tim Peake took charge of the seeds when he arrived at the space station in December and they were brought back to earth in March.

The seeds were taken to NASA in Houston, America, and returned to the UK ready to be packed up and sent out to schools in April.

Each seedling has a letter and number code to enable tracking by the Royal Horticultural Society and the UK Space Agency. Pupils will be watering and checking the seedlings daily and they will take nine measurements over 35 days, ensuring they record the data carefully throughout the experiment.

Information is being collected on germination, growth, leaf count and plant height and will be recorded on a Project Rocket Science wall chart and an experiment booklet, and entered on to a data collection website.

After all the data has been collected and submitted by the schools participating in the research, the results will be analysed by professional statisticians.

Leading scientists from the Royal Horticultural Society and the European Space Agency will then interpret the results and draw possible conclusions.

An online report will also be made available from September.