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Warwick antifreeze proteins to be sent to space

Antifreeze proteins developed by Dr Matt Gibson (a professor in the Department of Chemistry and WMS) are to be sent to the edge of space tomorrow, Saturday 8 April.

A team of instructors and students from Edgecombe Community College in North Carolina, USA, will be launching an unmanned high altitude balloon with the proteins on board as part of a NASA-funded competition.

Reaching over 60,000 feet, the balloon will be high enough for the curvature of the Earth to be clearly visible. The team will be able to monitor the conditions and environment during the balloon’s journey thanks to cameras and equipment inside.

Dr Gibson became involved in the project when a member of the team contacted him to see if his lab's cryo-protective polymers, inspired by antifreeze proteins, could be included in an experiment to see how cells survive in harsh conditions. The polymers will be mixed with two separate solutions, one with blood and one with plant algae, for the team to monitor during the competition.

The launch of the team’s high altitude balloon will be streamed on Facebook Live on Saturday evening. Check the college’s Facebook page for an update on the exact time of the launch.

Find out more on the college's website.


Lead student Jillian prepares the samples.