Seeds from outer space were the inspiration for a Dromore author’s new children’s book called Space Salad.
The story, by Debbie McKelvey, follows one little boy’s amusing escapades as he takes part in the Rocket Science Experiment - a nationwide initiative where British Astronaut Tim Peake has asked school children to plant Rocket seeds that have been in orbit with him and compare them with seeds from earth.
The experiment organised by the Royal Horticultural Society and the UK Space Agency is currently underway, with up to 10,000 schools in the UK planting their space seeds just last week.
“The whole idea really caught my imagination as I read about one of our local primary schools - St Coleman’s, Annaclone – taking part,” said Debbie.
“Because something like this has never been done on this scale before and because space exploration is such an uncharted territory, I couldn’t help but wonder what strange things might come of growing space seeds.
“For instance, will the seeds have trouble figuring out what way up to grow after having spent six months in zero gravity, and what will the space rocket taste like or will it have any strange effects if you eat it? It’s a bit like a modern-day Jack and the Beanstalk - when at first Jack had no idea what would grow from the magic beans.
“Anyway, I think the UK Space Agency has things pretty much under control so nothing too abnormal will happen in the experiment – but it’s still fun to think about these sorts of things and to base a book on them.
“I also think space travel and the thought of life on other planets has long intrigued children and adults, so it was fun to bring some of these elements into the book as well.
“All the mysterious happenings in Space Salad are set against a humorous back-drop, but the book also gives children a chance to learn about the very inspirational Tim Peake and his Principia Mission on the International Space Station.
“Kids from about five up will love parents reading the story to them and kids from about eight should manage it themselves. Even adults have had a chuckle at it, which is encouraging.
“So if you want to follow Archie Arbuckle on his space seed adventure to find out if Whopsle is the first cat ever to be abducted by aliens, or why Mr Dorrit went doolally, you’ll find Space Salad available for purchase at Amazon.
“You don’t need to have a Kindle device to read it though - it can be downloaded onto any computer, tablet or smartphone along with the free kindle app.”