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    Space station to aid Bedford firm’s drug research

    Hampered by gravity, company turns to the International Space Station

    1
    Microscopic proteins are loaded into tiny chambers on plastic cards, and then flash-frozen to stabilize them for the trip to space.
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    The frozen proteins were shipped to space on the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft March 1.
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    At the International Space Station the proteins will thaw and begin forming crystals.
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    Astronauts will use a microscope attached to a computer to take images of the growing crystals for review back on earth.
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    In May the crystals will be shipped back and X-rayed to produce 3-D images of the proteins, which will then be compared to a set of crystals grown on earth.

    SOURCES: Emerald Bio, NanoRacks, NASA

    Patrick Garvin/Globe Staff