A spot of gardening might not generally be considered rocket science but for some Annaclone pupils, it is exactly that.
Children at St Colman’s Primary School and All Saints’ Nursery Unit are getting ready for a special package all the way from orbit.
With a delivery date some time next month, the school is set to welcome a packet of 100 seeds that have gone on quite a journey as part of project Rocket Science.
Back in September, 2kg of rocket seeds were flown to the International Space Station and they’re still up in microgravity before making their long-awaited return next month.
The local school have been lucky enough to be chosen as one of 10,000 schools to receive some seeds in order to do some experimenting.
They will grow the seeds alongside a packet of standard earthling seeds that haven’t had the pleasure of a trip to space. The pupils will then measure the differences in how the two batches grow over a seven week period.
The pupils won’t know which packet has been off to the Space Station and which has always remained firmly grounded until all the results have been collected by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and analysed by professional biostatisticians.
The out-of-this-world, nationwide science experiment will enable the pupils to think more about how we could preserve human life on another planet in the future, what astronauts need to survive long-term missions in space and the difficulties surrounding growing fresh food in challenging climates.
The local school’s principal, Mr K Donaghy said: “We are very excited to be taking part in Rocket Science. This experiment is a fantastic way of teaching our pupils to think more scientifically and share their findings with the whole school and wider community.”
Rocket Science was launched by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and the UK Space Agency. It is just one educational project from a programme developed by the UK Space Agency to celebrate British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s mission to the ISS and inspire young people to look into careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, including horticulture.
Applications to take part in Rocket Science are still open and will close in March or when all packs have been allocated. Schools and educational groups can apply at rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening.