Half a Million Children a Step Closer to Rocket Science

Royal Horticultural Society and UK Space Agency rocket seeds returned to Earth from International Space Station this week

Half a million children across the UK are a step closer to Rocket Science this week as rocket seeds that will be grown as part of Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and UK Space Agency educational initiative, Rocket Science, have returned from the International Space Station (ISS).

The seeds travelled with American NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, and Russian Space Agency cosmonauts Mikhail Korienko and Sergey Volkov on the Soyuz spacecraft on Wednesday 2 March, landing on the Kazakh Steppe in Northern Kazakhstan. They were then flown from Moscow to NASA, Houston via Stavanger in Norway for refuelling. The seeds will now make their way back to the UK, to be packaged and delivered to schools and educators across the country.

The 2kg of seeds were flown to the ISS in September 2015, where they have been orbiting the Earth at a speed of 17,000mph. In January this year British European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake sent a special video message to schools from the ISS across the country inviting them to help with this unique space food mission.

In April, children and young people across the country will embark on a 35-day voyage of discovery to find out what growing plants in space can teach us about life on Earth and whether we can sustain human life in space in the future. Results will be collected and analysed by biostatisticians and published later in 2016, feeding into the real life work taking place in space science research. *Please see notes to editors for a regional breakdown of current registered schools and educational organisations.

Claire Custance, RHS Skills Development Manager, said: “This is a thrilling week for us as well as children and young people up and down the country as they come a step closer to receiving their very special Rocket Science seeds, and taking part in this unique project. We are very excited to be able to work with the UK Space Agency to engage so many young people in horticulture and science.”

Children and young people of all ages (from early years right up to university level) and all abilities are encouraged to take part in the initiative. To register for Rocket Science, organisations will be asked to either log into the RHS Campaign for School Gardening website or become a member of the Campaign. Membership is free and includes many benefits including a free welcome pack.

Find out more and sign up here: https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/Competitions/Rocket-Science-Application-Form (Please note that spaces are now limited so we cannot guarantee seeds to all that apply)

Follow the mission with the RHS and get involved online by tweeting @RHSSchools, using #RocketScience.