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Christophe Sandt

Further information on the experimental approach:

As a synchronous control experiment back on Earth, Nickerson’s team grew an identical set of bacteria in the same type of tubes used for flight, and incubated them in a special room at the NASA Kennedy Space Center called the “orbital environmental simulator.”

“This simulator is linked in real-time to the shuttle, and duplicates the exact temperature, humidity and growth conditions of the shuttle, with the exception that they are not flying in space,” Nickerson says. “In addition, we were also linked via real-time telecommunications with the shuttle crew when they were activating and terminating our experiments in flight, and we did the exact same things at the same time to the ground samples that the astronauts did to the flight samples – thus, we had perfectly matched, synchronous ground controls.”


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