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U of U takes plant experiment to outer space

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In this Friday, April 17, 2015 file photo, the Canadarm 2 reaches out to capture the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft for docking to the International Space Station. Americans haven't rocketed into orbit from their home turf since NASA's last shuttle flight in 2011. SpaceX and Boeing expect to resume human launches from Cape Canaveral in another year or two. (AP Photo/NASA)

This experiment is truly out of this world.

The University of Utah's chemistry department will be taking an experiment into outer space.

“There's a lot of promise, potential and hope that we can use the tools developed in synthetic biology to solve problems,” University of Utah chemistry professor and project chief scientist Ming Hammond said in a press release. “Not just that you would find in space, but where you have extreme limitation of resources.”

The experiment will focus on studying plant life onboard the international space station. The department says if human's are going to inhabit other planets, they'll need to be able to bring agriculture with them.

“The benefit is that you can take seeds with you,” Hammond said in a press release. “They're very lightweight. They grow and gain biomass using the CO2 that we breathe out. And if those plants can produce proteins on demand—we know that plants are able to produce anti-viral and anti-cancer antibodies on a large scale.”

The experiment began on December 18 and will run until the 28th.