Julian Rubenfein may only be 15 years old, but his biology experiment was so impressive, it earned a spot on the upcoming cargo launch to space.
Julian, a New York-based student designed and pitched his project to NASA for the 2nd annual Genes in Space Competition.
Julian’s proposal involved exploring how astronauts age while they are in space. The experiment performs this by measuring length of telomeres, the caps that protect the DNA in your chromosomes and shorten with age. If the student’s proposal is correct, astronauts will have shorter telomeres than Earth-bound people, implying that they age faster while in space.
The experiment was scheduled to travel to the International Space Station on March 24th as part of a cargo resupply mission, however the flight has been delayed until a later date within the coming weeks.
“Before I applied to the competition, I didn’t even know that the ISS had a functional laboratory, much less that biological experiments were being performed there,” Julian told the Good News Network. “Competitions like Genes in Space open students’ eyes to the vast amount of cutting-edge research that is performed in outer space.”
“It’s incredible that I’m able to do something like this as a high school student. The Genes in Space competition made me realize that high school students can contribute to mainstream science in legitimate and meaningful ways.”
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