Astronaut Sends Message of Support to Pupils Starting Royal Horticultural Society Rocket Science

Friday 15 April 2016

Message from space heralds the start of national schools project

British ESA astronaut Tim Peake will send a special message from space to the hundreds of thousands of children who will be beginning the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Campaign for School Gardening and UK Space Agency experiment, Rocket Science, on the 18 April.

Tim will deliver his message from the International Space Station where he’s been since December. In the message he will wish the 600,000 young people signed up to the experiment luck with their investigations into the impact of micro-gravity and space travel on seed germination and growth. The results will help to form a clearer picture of the potential for astronauts to grow their own food to sustain them on long-term missions.

Speaking while 400km above the surface of the Earth, Tim said: “This is a really exciting time for the hundreds of thousands of young people across the country who will begin their Rocket Science experiments. I’d like to wish everyone taking part the best of luck with their investigations and I look forward to seeing some of the results.

“It’s possible that among those pupils taking part in the project are the young people who will help mankind reach the next big milestones in space exploration for the benefit of people on Earth. I hope the Royal Horticultural Society’s Rocket Science experiment will spark curiosity and wonder amongst young people who may become the next generation of horticultural scientists.”

With more than 8,500 schools and educational groups poised to begin their Rocket Science experiment from the 18 April, the project is now among the biggest mass science experiments conducted in UK schools.

Rocket Science will see school pupils across the country spend 35 days analysing the growth and development of two batches of seemingly identical rocket seeds. However, one batch of seeds has spent time in space with Tim on the International Space Station, orbiting the Earth at 17,000mph. The aim of the experiment is to enthuse young people about science and horticulture and provide the European Space Agency with key insights into some of the challenges of growing food in space.

Speaking about the initiative RHS Skills Development Manager Claire Custance said: “The time has finally arrived and more than half-a-million young people will begin an incredibly exciting voyage of discovery that will help them learn more about the wonders of horticulture and the boundless possibilities of science.

“To have Tim send a message of support to schools illustrates just how important this initiative and the involvement of young people is to him, the UK Space Agency and the Royal Horticultural Society.

“Tim has backed this project because by engaging with and enthusing young people he knows that among those taking part in the experiment there will be dozens who could help get an astronaut to Mars, hundreds who could build careers in the sciences and horticulture, and tens of thousands who will have a new appreciation of the natural world and the role plants play in all our lives.”

-Ends-

Notes to editors

For more information please contact Siobhán MacMahon in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3043 or siobhanmacmahon@rhs.org.uk

Images are available from PhotoShelter at www.rhs.photoshelter.com. Registration is a simple process and free of charge. Please contact pressoffice@rhs.org.uk to gain access.

Notes to editors:

Regional Breakdown of Registered Schools

Region

Number of Registered Schools

Other registered organisations (Brownies, Scouts, youth gardening groups etc.)

London

338

104

Scotland

475

142

Wales

206

90

East Midlands

486

167

East Of England

736

310

North East

193

56

Northern Ireland

96

29

North West

846

254

South East

1085

443

South West

850

349

West Midlands

461

144

Yorkshire and Humber

528

159



About Rocket Science
Children and young people of all ages (from early years right up to university level) and all abilities will take part in the initiative. Although registration for the experiment has now ended, you can out more about the experiment and the RHS Campaign for School Gardening on our website:
https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/Competitions/Rocket-Science-Experiment-Overview

Follow the mission with the RHS and get involved on Twitter using @RHSSchools #RocketScience


About the RHS Campaign for School Gardening
The RHS Campaign for School Gardening actively involves more than 26,000 schools and youth organisations across the UK in horticulture. It aims to inspire young people about plants, gardening and their environment and consider further education and careers in horticulture and science. Through gardening they learn about healthy food and wildlife as well as important life skills such as teamwork, social skills and co-operation.

Resources including information, lesson plans and advice for schools is provided online and is backed up by support from the RHS Education team and RHS Campaign for School Gardening Regional Advisors. Schools and youth organisations can sign up to RHS Campaign for School Gardening online: https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk


About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.

We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.

 

The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 020 3176 5820, or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join

 

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262



About the UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency is responsible for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme and provides a clear, single voice for UK space ambitions.

At the heart of UK efforts to explore and benefit from space, we are responsible for ensuring that the UK retains and grows a strategic capability in space-based systems, technologies, science and applications. We lead the UK’s civil space programme in order to win sustainable economic growth, secure new scientific knowledge and provide benefit to all citizens.

 

We work to:

  • co-ordinate UK civil space activity
  • encourage academic research
  • support the UK space industry
  • raise the profile of UK space activities at home and abroad
  • increase understanding of space science and its practical benefits
  • inspire our next generation of UK scientists and engineers
  • licence the launch and operation of UK spacecraft
  • promote co-operation and participation in the European Space programme

About the European Space Agency
The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 20 are Member States of the EU.

ESA has established formal cooperation with seven other Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities.

Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.

Learn more about ESA at www.esa.int

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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262