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Students Send Microbe Experiment on Space Shuttle Atlantis
Date:11/12/2009

HOUSTON, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An experiment by college students that will study how microbes grow in microgravity is heading to orbit aboard space shuttle Atlantis.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081007/38461LOGO)

Undergraduate and graduate students at Texas Southern University in Houston developed the experiment that will fly as part of the STS-129 mission. The mission is scheduled to launch at 2:28 p.m. EST on Nov. 16 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

"I'm thrilled that giving students the chance to design and research an experiment to fly in space is one of the tools we have at NASA to engage them in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," NASA Deputy Administrator Lori B. Garver said." These young people are our future, and providing an opportunity to inspire them is a major part of our mission at NASA."

NASA's Office of Education selected Texas Southern University as a 2008 University Research Center. Texas Southern established a Center for Bionanotechnology and Environmental Research. Students at the center developed the Microbial-1 experiment to evaluate the morphological and molecular changes in E. coli and B. subtilis bacteria.

"The University Research Center Project is designed to enhance the research infrastructure and capacity at minority institutions," said Katrina Emery, NASA's University Research Center project manager at the agency's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif. "By engaging in participatory learning opportunities like this experiment, students can see themselves as researchers, now and in the future."

This space shuttle flight experiment is a proof-of-concept model for the URC project to give students hands-on experience. The experiment provides the university students the opportunity to design, monitor and execute the study in l
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