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Challney Boys become Rocket Scientists!

9 March 2016

Challney Boys takes part in thrilling space science project.

Challney Boys is delighted to have been chosen to take part in an exciting experiment which will contribute to knowledge about how plants might grow in space! You may have seen the plant Rocket (Eruca sativa) in supermarkets where it is sold as a salad vegetable. Last September 2kg of the seeds were sent into space on the Soyuz 44S, arriving on the International Space station 2 days later where they stayed for six months in microgravity with the British Astronaut, Tim Peake.

On 2 March the same seeds were returned to Earth with Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and landed in Kazakhstan. They then travelled to the UK via Moscow and Houston arriving here on 4 March. One hundred seeds will soon be distributed to British schools chosen for the project, together with one hundred Rocket seeds that have not been in space. We will not know which seeds are which, but will grow them both and compare the results. Our data, together with that of other participating schools, will then be collated and analysed by professional biostatisticians.

This is such an exciting opportunity that we are thrilled to be included in the project and to be working at the cutting edge of space science! Dr Porcari, one of our science teachers, will be overseeing the project in school and we are filled with curiosity to see what difference six months in space will make to the growth of these plants. We will keep you posted with our results – watch this space!

Leaves of the adult Rocket plant, a tasty addition to salads.