Stafford pupils being wowed by Tim Peake’s rocket seeds

UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency is at the heart of UK efforts to explore and benefit from space. They are responsible for ensuring that the UK retains and grows a strategic capability in space-based systems, technologies, science and applications. The UKSA leads the UK’s civil space programme in order to win sustainable economic growth, secure new scientific knowledge and provide benefit to all citizens.

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Pupils of Walton School in Stafford have been some of the first to acquire their seeds from space, as part of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)  / UK Space Agency co-organised Rocket Science project. The seeds were in space for six months with British astronaut Major Tim Peake, and were returned to Earth in March by the former commander of the space station, Scott Kelly. The aim of the project is to compare the seeds with ones that have not been in space, in order to study the horticultural possibilities available to astronauts.

The seeds, suitably of the plant rocket, already have pupils at Walton School buzzing, as the young scientists will be helping to find out how plants are affected by being in weightless environments such as the International Space Station (ISS).

"There has been a huge reaction,” said headteacher Neil Finlay to BBC News. “The children have been so positive about the entire process. It's been the talk of the school for the past couple of weeks. They are really looking forward to planting the seeds.”

The seeds have been packaged and are rolling out to 8,500 schools, societies and clubs across the UK. Pupils will receive two packs of Rocket seeds, labeled red and blue. One of the packs contains seeds that have been into space, with the other containing regular Earth seeds.

Sunil Lal, a Physics teacher at Walton School, said: "We have had some fantastic ideas. One is that the stem will grow downwards rather than up because of the effects of gravity on the seeds themselves.”

According to the BBC, the children will have their results in five weeks' time.

Visit www.rhs.org.uk and www.ukspace.org for more information.

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