A Space Oddity: Sue the T-Rex's Microbes Blast Into Space
By Marielle Shaw in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 14, 2014 8:00PM
Field Museum geologist Bill Simpson swabs a sample from Sue's claw for Project MERCCURI Photo credit: John Weinstein courtesy the Field Museum
Everyone knows Sue the T-Rex. She’s an ambassador for the Field Museum, an active tweeter, an incredibly important and recognizable fossil specimen and her toothy grin is one of the first things you see when you walk in the doors at the Field Museum.
We mentioned that Sue was going to space back in March, but the launch was delayed. Instead, Sue’s extra-terrestrial trip
starts today is scheduled now to launch Friday. Microbes that researchers for Project Merccuri swabbed from Sue’s bones are being sent into orbit with 48 other microbes from different places on Earth to see how they behave in microgravity. The project was crowdsourced via SciStarter and is coordinated by Science Cheerleaders and UC Davis in conjunction with Argonne National Labs. The plan is to study these microbes as they take a trip on the International Space Station and monitor for changes. Other swabs taken were from places like the Liberty Bell, the Smithsonian and the Today show set.
If you’d like to follow along with the trip, you can head over to the official NASA site and follow the launch blog, or watch the livestream on NASA TV, and then you can follow the project further down the road by visiting SpaceMicrobes.org. We’re excited to see public involvement in scientific pursuits no matter what form they take, and are especially happy to see the Field Museum’s favorite terrible lizard making her contribution. Because come on folks, T-Rexes in space! For science! Enough said.