First virus-hunter in space will test device to decode DNA


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Newly arrived space station astronaut Kate Rubins wore top-level biosafety suits for her work on Earth, but that won’t be needed when she fires up a pocket-sized device to decode DNA in space.

Rubins, who studied Ebola and other deadly viruses before becoming an astronaut, will be working with harmless test samples.

As the first professional virus-hunter in space, she will attempt to complete the first full-blown DNA decoding, or “sequencing,” in orbit. The device will be delivered to the International Space Station on the next SpaceX delivery. Liftoff is scheduled for Monday from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Rubins says the benefits of DNA sequencing in space are huge, and it could also prove useful in remote locations on Earth.

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