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Texas A&M engineering students are taking a capstone project to space with the help of a Houston-based aerospace company

Ever thought about travelling away from Earth? One Houston-based aerospace company alongside Texas A&M engineers are making it possible for your DNA to leave Earth.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — A Houston-based aerospace company called Space Crystals is taking an out-of-this-world idea and inviting Texas A&M mechanical engineering students to jump on board. 

So, what is Space Crystals all about? It's a project that takes some of your DNA, puts it into crystals, and sends it to space.

"When we collect your DNA, we extract it and we put it into two crystal solutions," explained Space Crystals CEO Kevin Heath. "We then launch those to the international space station and while on orbit they grow into space crystals totally unique with your DNA imbedded in them. Then we bring them back to Earth and we give one to the customer and the other one we put in a lunar time capsule that was designed and built by Texas A&M students and we bolt it onto the side of an eclipse lunar lander and we send it to the moon.”

A team of five mechanical engineering students spent over 600 hours completing this as their final capstone project. 

“For us we had five or six problems that we were trying to solve simultaneously we’re trying to keep weight as low as possible," said Texas A&M graduate student Nathanial Bass. "We’re trying to protect it from the temperature environment, radiation environment, trying to protect it from the debris environment. So we had all these problems that were stacked on top of each other which makes the project really interesting from an engineering perspective, and for those of us that like problems, which is why you choose this degree, it was really fun.”

Bass plays a key role in everything as the radiation and thermal engineer for the project. However, the ultimate goal of this unique approach to space travel is to inspire the younger generation to pursue their interests in space exploration.

“The whole idea is to have it come back on itself with taking the 3% of the profits to put it into stem," said Heath. "I want to fund more programs like this to get more kids excited and think about what they can possibly do in space.”

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