LAFAYETTE (NBC33) — A research project at UL is going out of this world, literally. Biology professor Dr. Karl Hasenstein is leading an experiment that will unfold inside the International Space Station. It is launching Sunday, March 30. It is an experiment basically trying to understand how plants react to forces of gravity, and the research has been underway for years in our own backyard.
"It says two things. First, I have to say that Karl is a top-notch researcher. He's an internationally renowned scientist in his area, but it also says something about the caliber of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. We are a heavy-focused research institution. We have many renowned researchers that are working for UL, we're proud to have them. They are our investment," says Azmy Ackleh, Dean of the College of Sciences at UL.
This has been a long time coming. Dr. Hasenstein first attempted launching this experiment in 2003 on the Space Shuttle Colombia, which broke up when it re-entered the earth's atmosphere. Through his work he had become friends with the astronauts that died that day, so Sunday's flight will be an especially emotional one for him.
Dr. Karl Hasenstein