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Missile Science: 9-Kilometer Experiment with Microbiology Students

A group of students took part in the record books by conducting the first biological experiments with a rocket in New Zealand.

Canterbury University students Matthew Furkert, Jack Davis, Robbie Grove and Thomas Bell recently sent their rocket called Into the Blue, 31,000 feet above the Waikato countryside.

Within its load was Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a type of yeast used for brewing. The missile will have the microbial production of metabolites during fermentation.

The rocket also carried cell cultures of Pinus radiata, a California species, which makes up most of the New Zealand pine plantation.

Dr. Sara Kessans, a university lecturer and NASA astronaut-interviewing finalist, said cultivation of Pinus radiata wood-forming cells in low Earth orbit could

This, she said, could lead to creating building materials on the Moon or Mars.

"The initial launch was a great success with many lessons

" The launch attracted hundreds of spectators, some of whom were students now interested in astrobiology, she said. "

" We look forward to integrating further experiments into [1

9659002] Students enter the blue at the Australian University Racing Events to be held in Queensland in April.

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