Apple tree saplings produced from Sir Isaac Newton’s tree have returned to their roots after floating in space for six months.
The seeds were taken aboard the International Space Station in 2015 by Major Tim Peake as part of the Pips in Space project. After they returned to Earth in 2016 to be nurtured into young trees, the British astronaut has begun planting the saplings in their new homes, starting with the home of Sir Issac, Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire.
“My mission to space was named Principia in homage to Newton’s defining work that included his world-changing ideas about gravity,” Major Peake said, referring to Newton’s revolutionary text Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica.
“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.”
A very special tree planting ceremony today. Special thanks to @NTWoolsthorpe for harvesting the seeds and @kewgardens for nurturing these ‘space flown’ pips into healthy saplings, ready to inspire a future #IsaacNewton perhaps…???? https://t.co/shUDE5XZ4Z
— Tim Peake (@astro_timpeake) January 13, 2020
Other winning locations include the Eden Project in Cornwall, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre in Cheshire, and the Royal Parks and National Physical Laboratory in Middlesex. The Brogdale Collections in Kent, the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre in Cheshire, South Derbyshire District Council and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs in Vienna also made the cut.
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “Tim Peake’s first trip to space became a source of national pride and inspired people across the country, including millions of schoolchildren 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.”
Read more about Major Tim Peake: