Dozens of students at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi gathered Monday to watch the SpaceX rocket launch. It's carrying a special fungus that was collected and researched by students.
The findings could make medical history.
The scientific projects on Falcon 9 are being taken to space for a month to see what the effects of microgravity and UV light will be on them. TAMUCC's marine biology students sent a deep sea penicillin fungus.
The fungus was collected and studied by Dr. Brnadi Kiel Reese and her students for seven years.
Rachel Weisend has been working on the project for a year and said it was chosen as a project to incubate while frozen at the International Space Station for a month to see if microgravity and UV light will change its genome. If there is any change at all, the fungus will likely create new antibiotics, which would be life-changing for the medical industry.
Thankfully, Monday's launch was successful.
"Such a relief to see the rocket launch and also to see it hit orbit," Dr. Reese said.
Now they wait a month before the samples are returned to Earth, and then data collection begins -- a months-long process.
"Once it comes back it'll be a long time until we can actually do something with those results, but we're excited for what it could lead to," Weisend said.