Planting seeds from outer space
Children at a Blackpool primary school have pledged their allegiance to a nation-wide science experiment with the help of British astronaut Tim Peake.
Mereside Primary School on Langdale Road has been specially selected as just one of thousands of schools to grow rocket leaf seeds that have spent six months in the International Space Station with the famous astronaut.
Year 3 pupils will spend a month tending to the seeds and measuring their growth to see how being in space has affected them.
Mereside Primary School’s head of science Thomas Sale said: “We’re one of just a few primary schools in the country who have managed to receive some of the seeds that have been up into space.
“We applied for the project in September and didn’t hear anything about it until February, when we had forgotten all about it.
“The current topic for my science class is ‘how does your garden grow?’ so this fits in with that.”
The experiment, which is run by the Royal Horticultural Society’s campaign for school gardening and the UK Space Agency, aims to explore the possibility of astronauts being able to grow fresh food for themselves while in space.
The seeds were blasted into orbit last year and were returned to Earth in March by American astronaut Scott Kelly, former commander of the International Space Station.
Mereside Primary School is just one of 8,500 schools, children’s clubs and societies across the country helping to bring the experiment one step closer to completion.
Mr Sale said: “We will run the experiment for 35 days to see how the seeds have been affected by space. Then we need to send all the data we gather back to the RHS and UK Space Agency and they will interpret the results and see what they can find out from them.
“The younger children are very excited. They don’t really understand that significance of the seeds going into space with Tim Peake yet, but some of the older children know.
“Some of them have said they don’t think the seeds that have been in space will grow at all.
“Right now I think I’m more exicted than the children!”