The UK Space Agency has partnered with The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Campaign for School Gardening on an innovative educational project Rocket Science, will give around half a million children the chance to learn how investment in human space exploration contributes to our knowledge of life on Earth, using the invaluable expertise of the European Space Agency (ESA) and RHS Science team.
Rocket Science will involve 2kg of an as-yet un-named cultivar of rocket seeds (Eruca sativa) sent to the International Space Station as part of British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s six-month Principia mission. After several months on board, orbiting the planet at 17,000mph, the seeds will be returned to Earth and sent to thousands of UK schools, alongside a batch of seeds of the same cultivar that have stayed on Earth. Over the following months pupils will grow and compare the seeds as they embark on a voyage of discovery to see whether we can sustain human life in space through the production of our own food. The results of the nationwide citizen science experiment will then be analysed to discover whether space travel has impacted on the growth of the seeds.
Schools and other education organisations can register their interest in the project at www.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening.