Return of the seeds

Our Rocket Science seeds have landed safely back on earth with US astronaut Scott Kelly

Copyright NASAAt 04:26am today, Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos landed safely back on Earth.

The crew landed the Soyuz TMA-18M capsule onto the Kazakh Steppe in central Asia at 10:26 local time after successfully completing their mission on the International Space Station (ISS).

Also safely making a return to Earth was 2kg (4.4lb) of rocket seeds which have completed their six month mission on board the ISS. The seeds were sent up on 02 September on Soyuz TMA-18M and were stored in the Columbus laboratory on board the station.

Seeds in space

More than 8,000 schools have applied for a pack of these seeds to grow alongside seeds that have remained on Earth for our project Rocket Science, a nationwide experiment that the RHS Campaign for School Gardening launched in partnership with the UK Space Agency.

The seeds will now be making their way with Scott Kelly to NASA in Houston on a charter flight from Moscow, Russia, making a quick stop in Stavanger, Norway for refuelling. The seeds will then return to the UK ready to be packed up and sent out to schools with the Rocket Science packs in April.

Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko of Expedition 46 spent a record 340 days on board the ISS which is twice the length of a normal mission. The long mission is part of an experiment to study the effect of long-duration spaceflight on the human body and mind. Scott Kelly has an identical twin brother who remained on Earth and scientists will now study the two and compare any genetic differences through a series of tests.

Tim Peake is still on board the ISS and is in the 12th week of his Principia mission. Tim is due to return to Earth on 05 June 2016.

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Top image copyright NASA.

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