Rocket Space Seeds

Added: May 10th, 2016

Fears of mutant salad leaves taking over Royds Hall Community school have been allayed, as the Rocket Seeds from Space planted by Year 9 have started to sprout normally.

In September, 2Kg of Rocket seeds were flown to the International Space Station on Soyuz 4SS where they spent 6 months in zero gravity with Astronout Tim Peake before being returned to earth last month.  The seeds were then dispatched to schools in packs of 100 as part of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and the UK Space Agency national experiment to discover the effects of gravity on seed growth.  Schools also received a pack of 100 rocket seeds which have not been to space to act as a control variable in the experiment, and nobody knows which pack is which. 

Last Thursday morning, Dr Salter, the Science Teacher who is facilitating the project at Royds Hall noticed the germination of the first seedling (R22), and she and Year 9 have been watching closely ever since as the rest of the new seedlings sprout.  By Friday afternoon, most were showing some germination, and thanks to a webcam that the students can log into, they have continued to watch them grow over the bank holiday weekend. 

Dr Salter said “So far there seems to be no visible difference between the growth of the two packs of seeds.   We have been keeping a predictions chart, and most people thought that the space seeds would grow slower than the ones which hadn’t been to space.  Some thought that they would grow quicker, some thought that they wouldn’t grow at all, and a few thought that they would be mutated in some way. We will not find out which seeds were which, or know the results of this experiment until all of the national results are collated later in the year.”

Mrs Williams, Executive Head Teacher of Royds Hall said:

“We are so excited to be part of this experiment.  It has enabled our students to think more scientifically about how we could preserve live on other planets, and how astronauts could grow fresh food on longer space missions.”