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Yeast in Space

The New York Times outlines NASA's plan for an experiment with yeast and antifungal drugs aboard Pharmasat, a nano satellite that will orbit the Earth and radio back data to researchers.

Previous experiments on the space shuttle and the International Space Station indicate that some organisms become hardier and more virulent in outer space and more resistant to drugs.

“We’re seeing if we can quantify the effect,” said Elwood Agasid, the mission’s project manager at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., which developed the satellite.

Weightlessness might be changing how the drug reacts within the cells, or it might be switching on and off certain genes, resulting in greater resistance. Such effects will become of more concern to astronauts on longer-duration space flights like a mission to Mars.

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