"Yeast in Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace" – good to have some microbiology on the last Space Shuttle mission

Well, this is a good story lead in
“Chefs across the globe may not know it yet, but their baker’s yeast just left the kitchen and blasted off into low Earth orbit”.

This is from a NASA press release: NASA – Yeast Rising to the Space Station

Sure – NASA has had some issues with their press released in the recent past. But I like this one. Funny. Interesting. And the science seems, well, worth doing. They are putting the yeast deletion constructs into orbit — and they are going to use them to study what genes might be involved in survival in microgravity. Sure the connections they try to make to humans are a big big stretch (though I love the “yeastnaut” term), but that didn’t bother me for some reason – maybe since it is done in a light hearted way.

Hat tip to Corey Nislow, one of the researchers behind the Yeast in Space project, for pointing me to this story. 

Fruit flies going into space

The plan is to send some fruit flies into space on the next shuttle mission and to compare them to some flies at home in terms of how their immune systems respond to the trip into space.
Not sure whether this is completely novel or not, but good to see that NASA is at least trying to still support scientific research. See the press release here.

There have been some serious controversies as of late at NASA about whether it truly is suportive of scientific research or whether it (like many other agencies) is succumbing to the anti-science rhetoric and attitude of some of the higher ups in the Bush administration.

For example, see the NYTime Article from February about how the NASA admiistrator had to make an announcment calling for scientific openness in the agency.