Studying Algae in Space

T​he launch of the space rocket Artemis-1 includes what could end up being groundbreaking cancer research from a team in Durham, North Carolina. Scientists with the Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System were chosen by NASA to place an experiment inside the rocket, exploring aspects of growing algae in space. 

Dr. Timothy Hammond (Duke University) and Dr. Holly Birdsall (Baylor College of Medicine) work for the Durham VA Health Care System and are the Co-Principal Investigators for the Fuel to Mars study, one of four studies under NASA’s Biological & Physical Sciences Division’s Biological Experiment-01 (BioExpt-01) aboard Artemis I.

This study will identify genes and gene pathways in algae (Chlamydomonas reinhardtii) that possess the best survival advantage during exposure to the combined effects of space radiation and microgravity. These will be used as parent strains in future studies to optimize the generation of hydrogen and other essential fuels in space.

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