The Perse School

Are rocket seeds out of this world?

12 May 2016

Students from Year 7 and 8 in Ecology Club have been sowing seriously ‘alien’ seeds as part of an RHS experiment.

The extraterrestrial rocket seeds have been – not quite to the moon and back – but certainly to the international space station. Two kilograms of seeds took off from Florida bound for the International Space Station as part of British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s six-month Principia mission. After several months on board, the seeds were sent back and landed in the Pacific Ocean earlier this spring. 

Once back on terra firma they were sown at The Perse, and other schools around the country, for an investigation into the effect of microgravity on seed germination and plant growth – essential work for scientists thinking about growing plants on other planets.

The students have been taking measurements weekly to see which set of rocket seeds are germinating best, but as yet don’t know which packet of the two they have sown went into space. The Perse results will be combined with those from students around the country to determine any effect.

The seedlings are pictured below, along with an insect house the pupils built today in the school garden.

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