On April 18th, children at more than 8,000 schools, clubs, and groups in the UK will begin their spring gardening with some seeds that are truly out of this world. As part of a program with the UK Space Agency and the Royal Horticultural Society’s campaign for school gardening, the students will be comparing regular gardening seeds with seeds that spent six months in space with British astronaut Tim Peake. The kids won’t know which seeds are which, adding to their excitement as they watch the seeds grow over the next five weeks. Along with observing the seeds, the children are making hypotheses about how the seeds might grow differently and potentially have varying nutritional values as well as discerning the effects of weightlessness and radiation. Although the project is a wonderful and fun learning experience for kids, the UK space program and its adventurous astronauts have a vested interest. Astronaut food is typically freeze dried and not extremely varied. The agency hopes that astronauts could eventually grow their own food. Leafy greens, such as the rocket salad leaf in the seed packets, would be a nutritious addition to their dining options and would also allow the missions the freedom to carry less prepared food with them on their voyages. Kids across the UK have been practicing with other seeds, measuring, and preparing their classrooms for the program, which has been cheekily dubbed “Rocket Science.”

UK space agency, space, food in space, news

via BBC and The Royal Horticultural Society

Images © Royal Horticultural Society