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Newton’s apple pips from Woolsthorpe take space tour with British astronaut Tim Peake




British astronaut Tim Peake as he talks to UK media before being launched into space at the Science Museum, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday November 6, 2015. Peake, 43, will embark for a six-month stay on the space station on December 15. See PA Story: SCIENCE Peake. Photo credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire SUS-150611-133810001
British astronaut Tim Peake as he talks to UK media before being launched into space at the Science Museum, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday November 6, 2015. Peake, 43, will embark for a six-month stay on the space station on December 15. See PA Story: SCIENCE Peake. Photo credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire SUS-150611-133810001

Apple seeds from the famous tree that inspired Sir Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity, have been sent up to the International Space Station (ISS), as part of the mission that British astronaut Tim Peake blasted off to join this week.

The tree which sits in the orchard of Woolsthorpe Manor, Newton’s home and birthplace, inspired his theories of calculus, light and gravity. These formed part of his book Principia – a book that changed modern-day science and is the namesake for the latest ISS mission.

From left, Jannette Warrener, National Trust Custodian at Woolsthorpe Manor, Jeremy Curtis, Head of Education at the UK Space Agency and TV personality Dallas Campbell, who championed the project as part of his involvement with PrISM. Copyright: National Trust - Colin Russell.
From left, Jannette Warrener, National Trust Custodian at Woolsthorpe Manor, Jeremy Curtis, Head of Education at the UK Space Agency and TV personality Dallas Campbell, who championed the project as part of his involvement with PrISM. Copyright: National Trust - Colin Russell.

“The pips were sent up on a supply rocket, Orbital 4 on December 6, after being handed over to Jeremy Curtis from the UK Space Agency last year,” explains National Trust Custodian for Woolsthorpe Manor, Jannette Warrener.

“We’re not yet sure how the pips will be used but what we do know is that in six months the seeds will return and be distributed to various places, including Woolsthorpe, where we will aim to nurture these ‘space’ pips into new apple trees!”

Visitors to Woolsthorpe can see Newton’s famous apple tree, still thriving today. Samples are also safeguarded at the Trust’s Plant Protection Centre (PPC) in Devon as part of its conservation work, along with specimens from some of the rarest or most threatened plants from across the Trust’s collections, to provide a legacy for decades to come.

Visitors can also see where he conducted his experiments, and have a go at science themselves.

Jannette adds: “Tim’s space travels is inspiring a new generation of scientists, something we are also passionate about at Woolsthorpe.

“We’ve developed a brilliant project with young scientists from schools in the region called PrISM which involved them launching a weather balloon into space to map out electro-magnetic radiation – the data will be shared with visitors and also used to inspire younger scientists. We’ve loved the project and really want to continue it on in the future.”



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