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Real Rocket Science

Key Stage 3 students at Grange Technology College are preparing to become space biologists and embark on a voyage of discovery by growing seeds that have been into space. 

In September 2015, 2kg of rocket seeds were flown to the International Space Station (ISS) on Soyuz 44S where they spent several months in microgravity before returning to Earth in March 2016.  The seeds have been sent as part of Rocket Science, an educational project launched by the Royal Horticultural Society Campaign for School Gardening and the UK Space Agency.

The project blasted off on Wednesday 20th April when the seeds were planted by a team of budding scientists who expressed an interest in taking part following an assembly where to project was publicised.     

Grange is one of up to 10,000 schools to receive a packet of 100 seeds from space, which they will grow alongside seeds that haven’t been to space and measure the differences over seven weeks.  The students don’t know which seed packet contains which seeds until all results have been collected by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and analysed by professional biostatisticians.  

The out-of-this-world, nationwide science experiment will enable the students to think more about how we could preserve human life on another planet in the future, what astronauts need to survive long-term missions in space and the difficulties surrounding growing fresh food in challenging climates.

Naqeeba Hussain and Jaweris Hussain with seeds from the International Space Station

Tahirah Hussain, Science Teacher in charge of the project at Grange said:  “We are very excited to be taking part in Rocket Science.  This is particularly relevant at the moment with British Astronaut Tim Peake currently doing such amazing things at the International Space Station.  This is an excellent opportunity for our students to develop their interest in science by taking part in a really interesting research project.” 

Rocket Science is just one educational project from a programme developed by the UK Space Agency to celebrate British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia mission to the ISS and inspire young people to look into careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, including horticulture.

The project has received local press coverage which you can read here.