Students at the Long Eaton School have now officially started a month long experiment in conjunction with the Royal Horticultural Society and the Tim Peake mission “Principia”. Named “Rocket Science” the experiment involves growing seeds that have been on board the International Space Station for around six months. The aim is to compare how the seeds grow in comparison to identical seeds that have stayed on Earth. Growing plant life away from planet Earth will be key for future manned missions beyond the Earth Moon system so this vital research will help with those future missions.
The two packets of seeds arrived at the school on Monday the 18th April and preparations were made for planting as per the strict control guidelines. The results will be collated from the other schools taking part across the UK giving a large sample size from which a more accurate result can be gained. The two packets are labelled simply as red or blue with no indication as to which packet has been in Earth orbit. This is important for the experiment to be free of bias. Planting was undertaken on 19th April by students in their lunch break. An enthusiastic team of budding Astro Biologists performed the planting and a random method for choosing the order of the trays of seeds on the windowsill used to ensure that no bias was given to any particular seeds.
The 200 seeds have now successfully been sown and watered in to launch the experiment. A wall chart will help keep track of any developments as and when they happen before the conclusion of the experiment in May. You can keep track of any news here.
For more information on the Rocket Science experiment the official website can be found here. More information on the Tim Peake “Principia” mission can be found here. And finally for your chance to wave at Tim Peake as he passes over on the ISS you can check times it will be visible here, you may need to alter your location on the website to get an accurate prediction.