Tim Peake Calls on Schools to Sign Up for Space Science Mission

Friday 29 January 2016


Tim Peake Calls on Schools to Sign Up for Space Science Mission
Royal Horticultural Society project to inspire the next generation of space biologists

Schools across the UK will today receive a special video message from British European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Tim Peake. Tim, who is currently on board the International Space Station, will call on them to help the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) with a space food mission.

This special mission is part of RHS Campaign for School Gardening and UK Space Agency educational initiative Rocket Science, which will give up to half a million young people the chance to grow rocket seeds that have travelled in space.

The video message will come direct from the Columbus module, a laboratory on the space station, which is orbiting the Earth at 17,000 mph. In the unique broadcast, Tim will be seen floating in the laboratory with the rocket seeds while encouraging schools to get involved in this exciting project.
Visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OgSJKqDRFk  to see Tim Peake talk about the initiative and inspire schools to sign up.*

In September 2015 2kg of rocket seeds were flown to the International Space Station where they will orbit the Earth until March 2016, when they are due to return with NASA astronaut Scott Kelly.
In April this year, up to 10,000 schools will grow and compare the seeds flown to space with seeds that have stayed on Earth as part of the nationwide experiment.

Participating schools will receive a teaching pack containing a packet of seeds from space and a packet that have remained on Earth, a booklet outlining the main experiment, a poster to record results, stickers and more.

Following the experiment procedure, pupils will embark on a 35-day voyage of discovery to find out what growing plants in space can teach us about life on Earth and whether we can sustain human life in space in the future. Results will be collected and analysed by biostatisticians and published later in 2016, feeding into the real life work going on in space science research.

Two additional suites of resources (aimed at primary and secondary aged pupils) are available to download from the European Space Education Resource Office UK website to enhance learning around the issues of growing food in space, nutrition and plant mutations.

Claire Custance, RHS Skills Development Manager, said: “Working with the UK Space Agency provides a unique opportunity for schools to engage young people in horticulture and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects. Educators can use this experiment and our suites of age-specific resources to teach the curriculum in a new, innovative way using real world issues of food security and the possible future settlement of humans on another planet. I encourage schools across the country to answer Tim Peake’s call and sign up to this very exciting project!”

Children and young people of all ages (from early years right up to university level) and all abilities are welcome to take part in the initiative. To register for Rocket Science, organisations will be asked to either log into the RHS Campaign for School Gardening website or become a member of the Campaign. Membership is free and includes many benefits including a free welcome pack.

The RHS Campaign for School Gardening will be accepting applications for Rocket Science until March 2016 when the seeds return to Earth. Find out more and sign up here: https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/Competitions/Rocket-Science-Application-Form

Organisations can follow the mission with the RHS and get involved on Twitter by tweeting @RHSSchools, using #RocketScience, by blogging about their own seed growing journey of discovery, and sharing the results of their food growing experiments online.

*Please be aware that the video will only become available once the embargo has been lifted.

For more information please contact Siobhán MacMahon 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

About the RHS Campaign for School Gardening
The RHS Campaign for School Gardening actively involves more than 23,000 schools 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/home

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 20 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 18 are Member States of the EU. Two other Member States of the EU, Hungary and Estonia, are likely soon to become new ESA Member States.

ESA has Cooperation Agreements with six other Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

ESA is also working with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.
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.

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