Australian Golden Wattle Set for Blast-Off Into Orbit

August 31, 2020 Updated: August 31, 2020

One small step for man, one giant leap for Australian golden wattle.

Seeds of the national floral emblem will be blasted into orbit ahead of a visit to the International Space Station.

Australia has handed the precious cargo to the Japan’s space agency, which will send the seeds to the United States.

A Space X flight scheduled for October will launch the seeds towards the space station, where they will spend six months before beginning the long journey home.

Back on home soil, Australian school children will plant the golden wattle after the seeds pass biosecurity checks.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said acacias could stabilise soils, prevent erosion, provide fodder for sheep and fix nitrogen levels.

“It might be one small step for these seeds travelling to Japan then America for lift off to the International Space Station before coming back to Australia,” he said on Sept 1.

“But our biosecurity measures will take giant steps to ensure the seeds don’t pose a risk to our farmers and environment.”

Australia’s science agency CSIRO collected the seeds from a wild population in Victoria before holding them in the national research collection that houses millions of specimens.

Matt Coughlan in Canberra