Space Cadet


In 2011, I wrote about microbiologist Kate Rubins, PI at the Whitehead Institute, who got picked to be an As Can (Astronaut Candidate). She trained for 2 years, got a chance to go to the International Space Station and is now back on earth. Ed Yong interviews her about the research she did there. Give this interview a listen if you have the time.


One afternoon two summers ago, Kathleen Rubins, a principal investigator at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, gathered her lab members for a quick meeting. “Have we done something wrong? “, the lab manager, recalls thinking. Then it struck her: A while ago, her boss had mentioned that she was applying to astronaut training. Rubins had downplayed her chances of getting in, so no one gave it another thought. Her intuition — that Rubins must have heard from the folks at NASA — was correct: Rubins had been selected to be part of the class of 2009. She was an  ASCAN.

Read the rest of the story here. html.

For a long time — five years now — I have been waiting to do an update to this story. Kate Rubins will go on her mission to the ISS this summer.

According to NASA’s press release:

During her time at the space station, Rubins will participate in several science experiments. Research into how the microbiome of a human body changes during space travel, and performing the first genetic sequencing in space are just two examples of the hundreds of experiments in which Rubins plans to take part.