Budding Bradon Forest scientists from Year 7 and Year 8 are helping astronaut Tim Peake with a national experiment to compare the growth of seeds that have been in space with others that have remained on earth.
Tim Peake’s brief for the children’s experiment was “to see if microgravity can affect the growth mechanisms in seeds.”
This comparison has never before been made on this scale, according to Dr Alistair Griffiths, the scientific director of the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). “This will be genuinely useful science,” he told BBC News. “There will be impacts from zero gravity and from cosmic radiation and no one really knows what those will be. So the results really will contribute to the science of how to grow plants in space”.
The massed experiment, run by the Royal Horticultural Society, and called Rocket Science, could help researchers to develop hardier varieties of crops to be grown in space.
Students from the Science Club started the experiment by planting the ‘rocket’ seeds on Wednesday 27 April 2016. The seeds from space will be compared to the control seeds from earth. At the beginning of the experiment students explored the hypothesis;
Charlotte Martin reckoned that the result for both groups would be the same. Jessica Lomas interestingly anticipated that the effect of radiation would significantly reduce the chlorophyll element of the space plants and result in the space plants being less green. Ben Silvester thought that the space plants would actually be better, and Year 7 student Jamie Fewings thought that the space plants would grow different than normal in some way ie their growth would somehow be distorted.
More information on the experiment can be found here: https://www.rhs.org.uk/about-the-rhs/blogs/news-blog/January-2016/seeds-in-space