Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
Trees planted grown from seeds that went into space (UK Space Agency)
- Also published by:
- WiredGov Newswire (news from other organisations)
Tim Peake and Andrea Leadsom plant trees at the home of Isaac Newton that were grown from apple seeds taken to space.
- Tim Peake and Andrea Leadsom plant trees at the home of Isaac Newton grown from apple seeds taken to space
- yesterday’s event aimed to inspire the next generation of astronauts and scientists to help the UK lead the world in new space technologies and innovations
Saplings grown from apple pips from Isaac Newton’s tree and taken into space by astronaut Tim Peake were yesterday (Monday 13 January) given homes to inspire the next generation.
The 8 young trees were grown from seeds taken from the ‘Flower of Kent’ tree at Woolsthorpe Manor, National Trust, in Lincolnshire, the home of iconic scientist Sir Isaac Newton who drew out the principles of gravity after seeing an apple fall.
The seeds spent 6 months floating in microgravity as part of the ‘Pips in Space’ project and then landed back on Earth in 2016 to be nurtured into young trees. The UK Space Agency, the National Trust and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, worked together on the project.
The Eden Project in Cornwall, Jodrell Bank in Cheshire, and the National Physical Laboratory in Middlesex, are among the winners of a competition to become home to one of the special saplings. The winners represent a mix of fields including educational, research, science, arboreal and horticultural organisations.
Speaking at the event, Tim Peake yesterday said:
These trees are truly unique. They come from the iconic apple tree that inspired Sir Isaac Newton to ponder the forces of gravitation and continues to inspire to this day.
My mission to space was named Principia in homage to Newton’s defining work that included his world-changing ideas about gravity. I wanted my Principia mission to inspire others, particularly young people, with the adventure of space and the excitement of science.
Now, thanks to the careful nurturing at Kew, the apple pips that flew with me into space have grown into fine young trees which I hope will continue to inspire potential Isaac Newtons.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom yesterday said:
Tim Peake’s first trip to space became a source of national pride and inspired people across the country, including millions of school children, who were amazed at the wonders of space science and achievements.
This mission also contributed to the continued success of our space industry which is a vibrant and successful part of our economy.
It is my own personal ambition to ensure the sector has a bright future, with investments that lead to huge improvements in our everyday lives - from tackling climate change to communicating around the world.
Ian Cooper, General Manager for the National Trust, yesterday said:
Isaac Newton’s time back home at Woolsthorpe in his Year of Wonders in 1665 to 1666 transformed scientific thinking, the impact of which is still felt today. As the trees grow and mature at their new homes, the partnerships we’ve formed in this project will enable us to share Newton’s fascinating story with new people, hopefully inspiring curiosity and a passion for scientific endeavour.
The successful applications for the space saplings had to demonstrate a commitment to inspiring people through sharing stories of science, space exploration, physics, horticulture and conservation.
Dr Anne Visscher, Career Development Fellow, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, yesterday said:
We are delighted to have been part of such an exciting project. Apple seeds can lose viability if not stored properly, so we made sure they were kept at low humidity during their time in space.
After their return to Earth, we germinated them in our seed bank laboratories before handing them over to the nursery team, who have gone out of their way to keep the young trees healthy. We are hopeful that they will continue to mature in their new homes around the country whilst engaging visitors with their history of Newton, space travel and plant science.
In November 2019, the UK Space Agency announced it will invest £374 million per year with the European Space Agency (ESA) to deliver international space programmes over the next 5 years, following this investment from the UK and other member states.
Notes to Editors
The winers who will host Newton’s space saplings are:
- Eden Project (Cornwall)
- Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre (Cheshire)
- Brogdale Collections, Home of the National Fruit Collection (Kent)
- Catalyst Science Discovery Centre (Cheshire)
- The Royal Parks and National Physical Laboratory (Middx)
- South Derbyshire District Council, Environmental Education Project at Rosliston Forestry Centre (Derbyshire)
- Woolsthorpe Manor (Lincolnshire)
- United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (Vienna)
On their return from space in 2016, the well-travelled pips went to Wakehurst, Kew’s wild botanic garden in Sussex and home to the Millennium Seed Bank, where they spent 90 days at 5°C to simulate the winter cold needed to break dormancy. In May 2017, they were warmed to 15°C and the young seedlings started to emerge.
The space sector is booming, generating billions of pounds for our economy and creating 42,000 jobs. Attracting more young people to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is an important part of the UK Space Agency’s mission. In September 2019 Tim Peake launched an initiative to help the sector deliver a million engagement activities a year with young people across the UK. The new programme aims to recruit more professionals as ambassadors to enthuse and inspire young people. The scheme will provide training and match them up with opportunities in schools and colleges. For more information go to the STEM European Space Education Resource Office site.
Latest News from
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
UK government invests in Livingston facility to bolster vaccine manufacturing capacity06/08/2020 10:10:10
UK Government and Valneva confirm multi-million-pound up-front investment in Livingston manufacturing facility.
Quality assurance at heart of new £2 billion green homes grants05/08/2020 10:10:10
Tradespeople are urged to sign up for TrustMark accreditation as part of the new Green Homes Grant scheme.
£20 million to improve small business leadership and problem-solving skills in the wake of coronavirus04/08/2020 14:20:00
Two new leadership programmes to help small business leaders grow their companies in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic were yesterday launched.
£1.3 billion investment to deliver homes, infrastructure and jobs04/08/2020 12:12:00
Funds to deliver up to 45,000 homes, create up to 85,000 jobs and upgrade skills and infrastructure to help fuel a green economic recovery announced.
Government further boosts UK vaccine manufacturing capacity04/08/2020 08:10:00
Pharmaceutical and biotech organisation Wockhardt will carry out the crucial 'fill and finish' stage of the vaccine manufacturing process.
Let's build back better03/08/2020 15:10:00
Keynote address by Alok Sharma, Business Secretary and COP26 President, at the Let's Build Back Better event hosted by the British High Commission Wellington.
Statistical press release: Digest of UK Energy Statistics 202030/07/2020 14:33:00
Statistical press release to announce the publication of the 2020 edition of the Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics (DUKES) and 2 other publications.
Government further boosts chances of UK receiving COVID-19 vaccine30/07/2020 11:20:00
Deal announced which will secure early access to a promising new coronavirus vaccine, enhancing the UK’s growing portfolio of vaccine candidates.