Seeds from Space Experiment at Dunhurst

Posted on 16th May 2016

Budding biologists from Bedales Prep School, Dunhurst in Petersfield are getting involved in an extra-terrestrial seed project.

The RHS Campaign for School Gardening in conjunction with the European Space Agency has sent schools across the country seeds that have spent several months in microgravity on the International Space Station with British astronaut Tim Peake.

Having been sent back to Earth, the seeds are now being grown beside seeds that have not been to space – the only catch is that Dunhurst pupils won’t know which is which until scientists at the RHS have collated and analysed all the results!

Head of Science at Dunhurst, Erawin Olie, said: “The Rocket Science project is an excellent opportunity for our pupils to develop their interest in science and they are very excited to take part in an experiment to see if zero gravity has affected the growth mechanisms in seeds from the ISS. Nobody knows what the outcome of the experiment will be as we don’t yet know which packs of seeds have been to space and which haven’t. In the short term, the seeds’ geotropism may have been disrupted, but in the long term, this research could help us to grow crops in space, even to establish life on other planets.”

Dunhurst achieved an RHS Level 5 school gardening award in January and pupils are keen to observe the growing process over the next few weeks and will see if there are any differences in how the seeds grow.