Piers Sellers described the mission:
‘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. After the flight, we will be returning the piece of
tree and a flown picture of Sir Isaac Newton back to The Royal Society.’
The NASA mission will last 12 days. The piece of wood will thereafter be held as a permanent exhibit at the Royal Society.
Earlier this year, the Royal Society made available online, for the first time, the original manuscript of William Stukeley’s biography of Newton. Stukeley was one of the first biographers of Newton and was also a Fellow of the Royal Society.