CRGS Rocket Science Experiment – 2016

Students from CRGS have been lucky enough to take part in the Rocket Science initiative which gives 10,000 schools across the UK the opportunity to take part in a UK-wide live science experiment to expand knowledge of growing plants in space.

After participating in a classroom experiment in May and June 2016, Year 7, 8 and 9 Science students were asked to enter their results in a bespoke microsite so that results from schools across the nation could be collated and analysed by professional biostatisticians.

Two kilograms of rocket seeds (Eruca sativa) were launched on Soyuz 44S on 2nd September 2015 with European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen and his crew, arriving on the International Space Station (ISS) two days later. British ESA astronaut Major Tim Peake took charge of the seeds while on the ISS for his Principia mission starting in December. After being held for about six months in microgravity, the seeds were returned to earth with astronaut Scott Kelly during March 2016.

Each participating school was to receive 100 seeds that had been on the ISS and 100 seeds that had remained on earth. The seed packets were to be colour coded, red and blue, but we were not to be told which packet contained which seeds. On 26th April the eagerly awaited samples of rocket seeds arrived at CRGS. The students then spent the next seven weeks watering, measuring and monitoring the seedlings.

On 22nd June, in a video broadcast, Major Peake revealed that the blue sample had spent time in space. Our students had made a correct prediction prior to the results being released.

In October 2016, ESA will release a full report into their findings and these will be shared with the students and the rest of the school.

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