As the societal dependence on Space continues to grow, so does the interest in exploring it – especially among younger generations. In order to bridge the gap between academia and industry and to get the younger generation interested in Space, SSC together with Space Hub of University of Zurich and ESERO Sweden have launched sunflower seeds into Space. These will now be planted at selected locations around Sweden to grow into space sunflowers.
In November 2022, the sunflower seeds were launched and flown onboard the research rocket SubOrbital Express-3 from Esrange Space Center in Sweden, where they experienced true space environment in weightlessness for six minutes and reached an altitude of 260 kilometers. SSC has distributed these seeds to eight different organizations focusing on science and learning for the younger generation: five Swedish science centers in collaboration with the Swedish National Museum of Science and Technology, the Royal Insititue of Technology and the Bergius Botanic Garden in Stockholm. The idea is for these organizations to plant and grow the seeds as part of their work to increase the awareness and interest in space among the younger generation.
The sunflower project is carried out by SSC together with Space Hub of University of Zurich where the idea of the project was jointly developed and carried out and is a part of an SSC initiative together with ESERO Sweden, aiming to make space a more integrated part of various school projects around the country. ESERO Sweden is an initiative by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Swedish National Space Agency to support schools in their work with technology, mathematics and science – with space as a focus point.
“Space fascinates children and young people, and we hope that the sunflower project will increase interest and engagement in Space. It’s important to learn things in a fun way. Planting seeds that have been in space is a really fun way to start exploring this exciting area. We thank SSC so much for these seeds and look forward to planting them together with children who visit us,” says Mariana Back, Curator at the Swedish National Museum of Science and Technology and Co-Manager for ESERO Sweden.
The sunflower project is one of several initiatives led by SSC to increase knowledge and interest in space. Along with the sunflower seeds onboard the rocket last year was also an experiment developed by the winners of the Space Research School 2022, a summer school focusing on astronomy and space technology for high school students, led by the Swedish Astronomical Youth Association.
“Cultivating sunflowers flown in Space is a wonderful way for young people and pupils to experience space in a very concrete way; to touch and make seeds grow that have flown far above the Earth surface, reaching for the stars. For some, this may be the first step towards their future space career! It’s certainly a privilege for SSC to be contributor to planting the first idea of such possibility in the minds of our future generation!” says Gunnar Florin, Business Development Director at SSC.
For more information, please contact:
Philip Ohlsson, Head of Communications at SSC
+46 (0) 707 21 70 26, firstname.lastname@example.org
These photos can be downloaded at https://sscspace.canto.global/b/HPLNS