Space seeds start extra-terrestrial biosecurity clearance

Joint media release with the Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia The Hon. David Littleproud MP

An extra-terrestrial parcel of Australian Golden wattle seeds has returned safely to earth and is undergoing biosecurity screening following its journey into space. 

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud and Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter welcomed the return of the seeds from the International Space Station

“This is one small step for Golden wattle but one giant leap for biosecurity science and innovation,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The mission symbolises the flourishing Australia Japan bilateral ties, and agricultural trade relationship, with the value of our farming exports to Japan now in excess of $5.4 billion. 

“Many different areas of my department worked with external partners to help the seeds make this extra-terrestrial journey. Biosecurity science and innovation are critical to ensuring that the department’s biosecurity controls continue to stand up to evolving trade and emerging risks.

“Biosecurity officers will now inspect the well-travelled Golden Wattle seeds to ensure that they meet biosecurity requirements and have not picked up any exotic pests and diseases on their journey.”

Minister Porter said that once the seeds had received biosecurity clearance, they would be released to the One Giant Leap Australia Foundation to distribute to schools across Australia for the inaugural Australian ‘Seeds in Space’ educational program.

“Now that these seeds have been to space, the next step is for our science superstars of tomorrow to see what effects the space journey has had on their germination,’ Mr Porter said.

“It’s a fun and exciting project to engage the next generation in STEM as we approach National Science Week 2021.

“Space is often called the final frontier and science is the key to understanding it and continuing to develop spaced-based technology.”

The Australian Ambassador to Japan, Jan Adams AO PSM, will be presented with some of the returned seeds from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency in a ceremony at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo. The space seeds will be planted in the embassy garden as a symbol of our growing relationship in this area. 

The One Giant Leap Australia Foundation is supported by the Australian Space Agency on this project, in collaboration with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo Research Module on the International Space Station, which facilitates space-related educational projects.