Children across the area have embarked on a voyage of discovery as part of a space experiment.
Schools and youth groups are taking part in Rocket Science, an ‘out-of-this-world’ educational project organised by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, in partnership with the UK Space Agency.
The young space biologists have received seeds from the International Space Station and are planting them up to assess how they grow.
The rocket seeds were flown up on Soyuz 44S in September to spend six months in microgravity before returning to Earth.Each group involved has been given a packet of 100 seeds from space to grow alongside seeds that have stayed on Earth – and compare the differences over seven weeks.
The children will not know which packet of seeds was which until all results have been collected and analysed by professional biostatisticians.
Among those taking part are St Philip’s Catholic School in Arundel, Chichester High School for Boys and Girls, Kingsham Primary School in Chichester, The Regis School in Bognor and Bourne District Girl Guides – Southbourne Rainbows, Brownies and Guides, Funtington Brownies, Guides and Senior Section, and Bosham Brownies.
Lucy Horne, head teacher at St Philip’s, 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 community.”
Jo Bennett and Jo Taylor, Kingsham school governors who will be working with the children there, said it was particularly exciting for them as the experiment links to the mission of Chichester astronaut Tim Peake.
Nikki Manley, science teacher at The Regis School, said: “The pupils involved attend a special Rocket Science club every week after school and have already learned about healthy eating for space travellers, how rockets work, mutations in seeds and growing food for space exploration.”
The experiment will enable the children to think about preserving human life on another planet in the future and the difficulties surrounding growing fresh food in challenging climates.
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