New homes found for Newton’s Space Saplings
Newton’s Space Saplings have found their forever homes on Earth. The next chapter in the life of these trees is about to begin at the Eden Project, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Brogdale Collections, Catalyst Science Discovery Centre, Royal Parks and National Physical Laboratory, Rosliston Forestry Centre and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs in Vienna.
The final destination of Newton’s Space Saplings has been announced. In a special ceremony at Woolsthorpe Manor. British ESA astronaut Tim Peake handed over the Newton’s Space Saplings to the winners and then planted a Space Sapling in the historic orchard at Woolsthorpe, not far from Isaac Newton's legendary gravity-inspiring tree.
Seeds from the iconic Flower of Kent apple tree at Woolsthorpe Manor were blasted up to the International Space Station as part of Tim Peake’s ‘Principia’ mission in 2015. They spent six months floating in micro gravity as part of the ‘Pips in Space’ project’ and then landed back on earth in 2016 to be nurtured into young trees.
Newton’s tree, which still bears fruit every year, was said to have prompted Newton to question why the apple fell, leading to his world-changing work around gravity.
The UK Space Agency, the National Trust at Woolsthorpe Manor and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, worked together on the project, launching the competition to find partners at the 4th Gravity Fields Festival in 2018.
" These trees are truly unique. They come from the iconic apple tree that inspired Sir Isaac Newton to ponder the forces of gravitation and continues to inspire to this day. My mission to space was named Principia in homage to Newton’s defining work that included his world-changing ideas about gravity. 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. "
As part of the application process, the recipients of the seven saplings were required to demonstrate a commitment to inspiring potential future Isaac Newtons.; through sharing stories of science, space exploration, physics, horticulture and conservation and the need to have a never-ending curiosity about the world around us.
Breaking down the barriers to science, along with ensuring that as many people as possible will be able to enjoy, experience and be inspired by the young trees in their new location, were key factors in judging the entrants. The winners represent a mix of fields including diplomatic, educational, research, science, arboreal and horticultural.
" Tim Peake’s first trip to space became a source of national pride and inspired people across the country, including millions of school children, 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. "