YOUNG villagers are preparing to become space biologists by growing seeds that have orbited the earth.

Pupils at Salway Ash School are taking part in a Rocket Science educational project, set up by the UK Space Agency and the RHS Campaign for School Gardening.

In September 2015, 2kg of rocket seeds were flown to the International Space Station (ISS) on Soyuz 44S. The seeds spent several months in microgravity before returning to earth earlier this month.

The west Dorset school will be one of 10,000 schools to receive a packet of 100 seeds from space, which they will grow alongside seeds that haven’t been to space and measure the differences over seven weeks.

The children won’t know which set of seeds have been in space until all results have been collected by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and analysed by professional biostatisticians.

Teacher Gordon Shaw said: "The project is still at a very early stage but we are all really looking forward to it.

"It is part of a very special project and we are all very proud to be taking part. Nobody quite knows how it is going to turn out so we are very excited."

The experiment will help the children to think more about how we could preserve human life on another planet in the future, what astronauts need to survive long-term missions in space and the difficulties surrounding growing fresh food in challenging climates.

Salway Ash pupils in years five and six have been doing a great deal of work about Tim Peake and his space mission - making this a particularly interesting project for them.

Mr Shaw added:"It has been great to have had so much coverage of Tim Peake and it has really helped to inspire the children.

"It will give them the chance to carry out some very serious investigations and we will have to be very strict in order to achieve reliable results.

"It is hopefully going to be a wonderful thing to be involved in. Everybody has got really interested and excited about it."

Rocket Science is just one educational project from a programme developed by the UK Space Agency to celebrate British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s Principia mission to the ISS and inspire young people to look into careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, including horticulture.

The seeds are due to arrive at Salway Ash School shortly after the Easter holidays and pupils are excited about the experiment.

Kian said: "Some seeds are going to come down form the space station and we will grow them to see how they grow."

Jacob added: "We have to see what effect space has on the seeds and compare them with seeds that grow on the earth."