We were delighted to have submitted a successful bid to join other schools in a live Rocket Science experiment.

Rocket Science is giving 10,000 UK schools the opportunity to engage their pupils in a UK-wide live science experiment to contribute to our knowledge of growing plants in space. After participating in a classroom experiment in May and June 2016, pupils will be asked to enter their results in a bespoke microsite so that results from schools across the nation can be collated and analysed by professional biostatisticians.

Two kilograms of rocket (Eruca sativa) seeds were launched on Soyuz 44S on 02 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 Tim Peake will take 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 returned to Earth with astronaut Scott Kelly in March 2016.

We excitedly awaited delivery of the seeds which arrived with us in March ready to begin our science experiment in April.

Every child had the chance to plant a seed following the initial preparation of the trays by the very helpful Olivia, Xin Xuan, May and India on a very challenging windy day. We are all very excited to know whether there will be any difference between the seeds that have spent time in space and seeds that have only existed on earth.

The children decided that they would like to expand the experiment further and ask two additional questions. The two questions were if the children thought the red or blue packet of seeds had been into space and if the children thought that there would be any change between the seeds that had been into space and those that hadn’t. 37 children thought that the red packet of seeds had been into space whilst 30 children thought that it was the blue packet. Of these children 59 children thought that the seeds would be affected by being in a microgravity environment whilst 8 children thought that this wouldn’t make any difference.

Preparation and planting

Rocket seed preparation 0416 IMG_4403Gettignready to sow Rocket seeds 0416 IMG_4406Rocket Seed packs IMG_4781 0416

Rocket seedlings 0416 IMG_4446

On day 5 nearly 90% of all our seeds had successfully germinated, with a fairly equal percentage from both packets failing to germinate so far. No mutations have as yet been noted, we will see what next week brings.

On day 10 a lot of changes have been recorded and noted with our rocket seeds. All the seeds were counted to see how many had germinated, both red and blue seeds had germinated at a rate of 89%, next we recorded how many seedlings in each tray had grown two true leaves. For this the red packet of seeds recorded 86% and the blue seeds recorded 81%.

On day 17 we recorded the percentage of seedlings still alive with the results being 87% for the red seeds and 85% for the blue seeds .

On day 21 we measured the height of the tallest seedlings in each tray, in the red tray the seedlings measured between 8.5cm – 9.7cm and the blue seedlings measured between 9cm to 10.5cm.

On day 28 we calculated the average number of leaves on five randomly selected seedlings from each tray, in the red tray the average ranged from 3.8 leaves to 6.6 leaves whilst the blue trays the average ranged from 2.6 leaves to 5.8 leaves.

On day 35 we calculated the percentage of seedlings still alive, in the red tray we had 32% success rate and in the blue tray we had 49% success rate.

Rocket seeds IMG_4710 0516

We are awaiting a message from Tim Peake as to whether it was the Red or Blue packet of seeds that have been in a microgravity environment. The announcement will be made on Monday 20th June. The link has just arrived for us to enter in all the data we have collected. Our Red seeds were overall 27% successful, whilst our Blue seeds were overall 49% successful, we await the final revel on the 20th June with baited breath! Take a look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUtH-8GIxX4 for a message from Tim.

Which do you think have been into space the red seeds or the blue seeds? #rocketscience