‘Seeds in space’ project

MAFFRA Secondary College has been accepted as one of 150 school groups around the nation to be involved in an important piece of space research.

The school will receive a sample of six wattle seeds that have been at the International Space Station for the past six months, and attempt to germinate them, as well as six ‘non-space’ seeds.

The seeds will be grown in controlled conditions to observe any changes.

Undertaken by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, Australian Space Agency and the One Giant Leap Australia Foundation, the project will have big implications for future space travel and science, and is expected to give researchers more information on how seeds survive space travel.

Supported by the Australian Space Agency, the ‘What’ll happen with the wattle’ program is being offered to more than 150 schools, Scout groups and Australian Air Force Cadets across Australia.

Maffra Secondary College science teacher Riley Shefford said a small group of Year 7 and 8 students volunteered recesses and lunchtimes over two weeks to plan and create the school’s application video – learning new skills in recording music, animation styles and editing along the way.

A community panel judged the applications, which included 200 words and a short video, explaining what the schools would do with the wattle once it had grown.

Throughout the program, One Giant Leap Australia Foundation will run teleconferences and provide educational support to participating groups.

The 12-month to two-year project will result in the creation of a nationwide map identifying the location of Australia’s ‘space wattle’ trees.