A piece of the apple tree that inspired Sir Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity is set to defy the force by being sent into space.
The four inch section of wood is normally held in the Royal Society’s archives, but it will be launched on the space shuttle Atlantis on its next mission to the International Space Station.
It will be carried by British-born astronaut Dr Piers Sellers as part of the academic institution’s 350th anniversary celebrations.
The tree sample will be accompanied on its trip into space by an image of Sir Isaac, also donated by the Royal Society.
Dr Sellers, who was born in Crowborough, Sussex, said: ‘We’re delighted to take this piece of Sir Isaac Newton’s apple tree to orbit. While it’s up there, it will be experiencing no gravity, so if it had an apple on it, the apple wouldn’t fall.
‘I’m pretty sure that Sir Isaac would have loved to see this, assuming he wasn’t spacesick, as it would have proved his first law of motion to be correct.’