RO: In the Know

Food Beyond Gravity

A. Asher, Anchor, Senior Staff Writer

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After teaching shy students to interact with their peers by using resident chickens, Nugget and HeiHei, ROMS teachers are onto something new for the innovative student experience.Science teachers,Ms.Baxter, Ms. Hamby, and Ms.Southard decided to do an experiment which involves growing seeds from space on the Earth’s soil.

Tomatosphere, (a program where kids in kindergarten through 12th grade get to use “space” tomato seeds to learn more about growing plants in space,) provides one packet of seeds that were nurtured in space for six weeks and-are then sent to schools who are involved in the project. In addition to giving schools seeds from space, Tomatosphere sends another packet full of seeds which is from Earth and hasn’t touched the skies.

One of these packets contain the space seeds. The teachers don’t know which one it is.

The idea is to compare the growth rate of seeds from space to the seeds here on Earth. But why would someone want to see if space seeds can grow faster and still maintain the health of a regular tomato plant?

“If we go to other planets we will obviously need the seeds,” Hamby explained. This isn’t just some science experiment with no relevance or application. Being able to produce crops is the key to sustaining life on other planets. To put this in simple terms no food equals no life.

There are some serious issues to consider with this space garden concept. First of all gravity is a big problem to tackle because the plant would need to properly respond to light and the roots would need to grow downwards.After the experiment period has ended, ROMS will report the the results of the study to the Canadian Space Agency who will then give the information to National Aeronautics and Space Administration.NASA will then send the results back to the school allowing the team here to compare the growth rate to the gravity here on Earth and see see how the lack of gravity affects the growth of the tomato plant.

Mrs. Hamby plants tomato seeds nurtured from space and seeds nurtured from our very own Earth

How will students plant both types of seeds?

All seventh grade science classes will grow the plants by using greenhouse trays, potting soil and the one essential thing that every plant needs to grow, water. During the germination state the plants will be sitting inside the windowsill of  Hamby’s classroom, and when they grow mighty and strong they will be eventually transported to the  science garden.

After the study has been concluded, the science department will be allowed to keep the tomato plants, and harvest them for the school.  

 

Will there be a taste test to see if there is a difference?

The science team is still planning activities and possibly community involvement events to take place after the tomatoes are harvested.       

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Food Beyond Gravity