The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are running an experiment to find out, and we need your help to tell the story.
In November 2022, the IAEA and FAO sent seeds to the International Space Station (ISS). These seeds are being exposed to cosmic radiation, microgravity and extreme temperatures, an experiment that could lead to the development of new crop varieties that can withstand the ravages of climate change on Earth. The goal is to improve food security and nutrition for people around the world.
In April 2023, the seeds will return to Earth and travel to IAEA/FAO laboratories for analysis and results. What will the scientists discover?
Through traditional or digital drawings, we want you to depict the seeds in space journey, to inspire people about how nuclear science is tackling climate change, and the potential benefits of space science for climate change adaptation and food security on earth.
Draw a comic book page (A4 size) for as many of the six steps of the seeds’ journey as you like, with or without text and dialogue. You can either illustrate the step in one A4 panel (example 1) or chose to illustrate it in a maximum of six panels of the same or various sizes (example 2).
Chose one or more of the steps below:
Seed preparation: Two seed types (Arabidopsis and sorghum) are selected and sent from the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, to Virginia, USA. One batch remains in the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre laboratories to be irradiated in a machine.
Seeds travel space: Seeds are launched into space aboard a space shuttle and safely dock at the ISS.
Space exposure: Half of the space seeds are positioned outside the ISS and exposed to cosmic radiation, microgravity and the extreme temperatures of space. The other half stays inside the ISS.
Splashdown: All seeds return from space and travel back to the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre laboratories.
Analysis and growth: The DNA of seedlings from all three batches of seeds is analysed and compared to look for any differences in the mutations created by the radiation on earth and in space (both inside and outside the ISS). Then the seeds are grown in greenhouses in Seibersdorf and their differences noted.
Results! Do cosmic radiation and space conditions have a uniquely valuable effect for crop improvement to feed people on Earth and in space? Draw what you think we will find.
Deadline: Sunday, 16 April 2023, 23:59 (CEST)
Taking part is free.
To enter, you must be aged 14 to 18 at the time of the deadline.
Digital submissions of all mediums of artwork are accepted (including photos of drawings and digitally rendered artwork).
Photos or scans should be 300 DPI (dots per inch) or higher.
Artists can submit as many steps as they desire, on separate A4 pages in one submission.
The IAEA seeds in space comic book will be created based on the winning design. On the cover it will say “inspired by” with the name of the winner!
The winner and a select number of finalists will receive IAEA branded gifts, an award certificate and have their designs published on the IAEA website.
Please submit your comic book image(s) to email@example.com, with the form completed and signed by a parent or guardian.
Date of birth
Country of residence
Journey step number(s)
Description of your work (200 words maximum)