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‘Genes in Space’ experiment was made by 15-year-old student.

A 15-year-old UAE student has made history today as her experiment was chosen to be launched to the International Space Station. This is part of the Genes in Space competition held in the UAE. The competition beings students Grades 7 through 12 all across the country and invites them to propose experiments that would contribute to solving problems in space.

‘Genes in Space’ experiment was made by 15-year-old student.

A 15-year-old UAE student has made history today as her experiment was chosen to be launched to the International Space Station. This is part of the Genes in Space competition held in the UAE. The competition beings students Grades 7 through 12 all across the country and invites them to propose experiments that would contribute to solving problems in space.

For Alia Al Mansoori, who is a student of Al Mawakeb School Al Barsha in Dubai, her experiment included the examination of DNA that is produced for changes in protein expression. The result of the experiment could help provide clues on how astronauts could remain healthy for long periods in space. This could prove to be beneficial considering that the plans to travel to Mars.

Alia Al Mansoori, center, applauds soon after the rocket carrying her Genes In Space experiment launches from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: Boeing/Steven Siceloff.

Al Mansoori worked with various scientists from miniPCR to help her prepare her experiment. “The need to explore connects us all as humans and it inspires us in different ways to pursue advances,” said Al Mansoori. “I looked at how astronauts might need to be protected while in space, or at least offer them a way to see what changes are taking place in their bodies. Knowing that, it may be possible to prevent such damage from taking place at all.”

Al Mansoori will follow the steps of Anna-Sophia Boguraev and Julian Rubinfein, who won the past Genes in Space competitions.

Tessa Montegue, left, scientific mentor for Genes in Space, and Alia Al Mansoori discuss the research work with former space shuttle commander Bob Cabana, director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, said: “The UAE Space Agency’s organization and backing of this competition comes as part of the UAE’s comprehensive efforts to support its ambitious youth and their endeavors. This competition has highlighted the deep interest among our youth in a range of applied space sciences and technologies. These fields are a foundation of national growth that will advance our strong international standing.”

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Victor Philip Ortiz
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