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 will be returned to Earth with astronaut Scott Kelly, currently planned for March 2016. Once the seeds have returned they will then be distributed to schools signed up to the project. Each participating school will receive 100 seeds that have been on the ISS and 100 seeds that have remained on Earth. The seed packets will be colour coded, however schools will not be told which packet contains which seeds until national results have been published. Online resources to expand student learning will be available on the website of the UK Space Education Office (ESERO) before, during and after the Rocket Science experiment.