Categories: world

Rocket science: the students' 9 km high microbiological experiments

A group of students have launched themselves in the record books by conducting the first biological experiments using a rocket in New Zealand. Canterbury University students Matthew Furkert, Jack Davies, Robbie Grove and Thomas Bell recently sent their rocket, Indukt in Blue, 31,000 feet across the Waikato countryside. Within its payload was Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a species of yeast used for brewing. Together with Canterbury breweries Damien Treacher and Mark Waller, the students wanted to find out what Effekt rocket flying would have on the microbial production of metabolites during fermentation. The rocket also carried out cell cultures of pinus radiata &#821 1; the Californian species that make up most of New Zealand's pine plantation. Dr. Sarah Kessans, a biochemistry lecturer at the university and a NASA astronaut candidate finalist interviewed, said that cultivation of wood-forming pinus radiata cells in low-ground trajectory could also better understand cell physiology in microgravity. This, she said, can lead to building materials being produced on the moon or Mars. "The initial launch was a great success with many lessons which will help us optimize biological payloads at subsequent rocket launches." The launch attracted hundreds of spectators, some of whom were students now interested in astrobiology, she said. "We are looking forward to integrating further experiments into the next launch." Students enter the Blue at the Australasian Universities Rocket Competition, held in Queensland in April.

A group of students have launched themselves in the record books by conducting the first biological experiments using a rocket in New Zealand.

Canterbury University students Matthew Furkert, Jack Davies, Robbie Grove and Thomas Bell recently sent their rocket, Indukt in Blue, 31,000 feet across the Waikato countryside.

Within its payload was Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a species of yeast used for brewing.

Together with Canterbury breweries Damien Treacher and Mark Waller, the students wanted to find out what Effekt rocket flying would have on the microbial production of metabolites during fermentation.

The rocket also carried out cell cultures of pinus radiata &#821

1; the Californian species that make up most of New Zealand’s pine plantation.

Dr. Sarah Kessans, a biochemistry lecturer at the university and a NASA astronaut candidate finalist interviewed, said that cultivation of wood-forming pinus radiata cells in low-ground trajectory could also better understand cell physiology in microgravity.

This, she said, can lead to building materials being produced on the moon or Mars.

“The initial launch was a great success with many lessons which will help us optimize biological payloads at subsequent rocket launches.”

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

“We are looking forward to integrating further experiments into the next launch.”

Students enter the Blue at the Australasian Universities Rocket Competition, held in Queensland in April.

Share
Published by
Faela