- Associated Press - Monday, March 17, 2014

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - Karl Hasenstein hopes to finally send his zero-gravity, plant-growing experiment into space this month, after more than 20 years of research and one experiment lost in the tragic explosion of Space Shuttle Columbia.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/PHW8Dj ) the project is extremely important to Hasenstein, a professor of biology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

“We have done many lab studies,” he said, “but this is the first time we have a chance to go back into space for the actual experiment that was planned more than 15 years ago.”

To get his project in space, Hasenstein said he first had to submit a proposal convincing NASA that it was an important study. After approval, the experiment and its abilities were scrutinized by engineers.

Hasenstein said he will be sending a number of Brassica rapa seedlings - a relative of the turnip - to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX rocket Falcon 9.

NASA delayed the launch of Falcon 9, originally scheduled for Sunday, to March 30, which has also stalled the experiment hitching a ride on the ship to the space station.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com