Yogyakarta - National Aviation and Space Agency sent tomato seeds to space by using Japanese satellite on 22 January. Based on the plan, after two months in outer space, the seeds will be returned to Lapan and will be planted by students for research. “After several months in outer space, the tomato seeds will be returned through the American satellite. The tomato seeds will be planted by school students,” said Section Head of Public Relations of Lapan, Elly Kuntjahyowati, after giving speech in Seminar of Reconstruction of Disaster Victim Areas based on Geographical Approach at auditorium of Faculty of Geography, Saturday (5/2).
According to Elly, the planting aims to identify whether tomato seeds can still grow after several months in outer space. “We want to know if there is any difference between ordinary tomato seeds and seeds which have been placed in outer space,” she said.
The project is the cooperation between several countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, India and Vietnam. Each country sent seeds of plants. The program of sending biological resources to space is a part of multilateral cooperation of Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF) which aims to improve the young generation's interest in space. Samples of tomato seeds amounted to 100 grams or 500-800 seeds.
The reason for the delivery of tomato seeds into space according to Elly was because tomato seeds can grow more quickly than other plants. This program aims to encourage students’ interest in space. Lapan also held rocket championship. “(We) Encourage children to be more enthusiastic in research,” she added.