Issued: April 27, 2016
PICTURES: Pictures can be viewed and downloaded HERE
Children grow seeds from space
Year 5 children at Thomas Willingale School and Nursery, Loughton, have planted special rocket seeds that have travelled into space.
Aspen Class received two packets of seeds - a red pack and a blue pack - with 100 seeds in each last week.
One of the packets has been aboard the International Space Station with astronaut Tim Peake, but the children do not know which one.
That fact will not be revealed until the project ends.
The seeds were carefully sown in line with the detailed instructions, and germination happened on day 3!
Class teacher Aileen Holland said: "So far, seeds from both the blue packet and red packet have germinated so the children will watch carefully as the plants grow in the coming weeks."
The project is now among the biggest mass science experiments conducted in UK schools.
The aim of the experiment is to enthuse young people about science and horticulture and provide the European Space Agency with key insights into some of the challenges of growing food in space.
Thomas Willingale is one of up to 10,000 schools which have received seeds.
Tim Peake wished good luck to all the participating schools.
He said: "It’s possible that among those pupils taking part in the project are the young people who will help mankind reach the next big milestones in space exploration for the benefit of people on Earth.
"I hope the RHS Campaign for School Gardening’s Rocket Science experiment will spark curiosity and wonder amongst young people who may become the next generation of horticultural scientists.”
Thomas Willingale headteacher Teresa Phillips said: “We are very excited to be taking part in Rocket Science. This experiment is a fantastic way of teaching our children to think more scientifically and share their findings with the whole school."
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.