Molecular biologist is ready for trip to space
When molecular biologist Kate Rubins blasts off from Kazakhstan on June 24, strapped into the Soyuz spacecraft bound for the International Space Station, the trip will cap off seven years of preparing — and 30 years of hoping.
As a child, Rubins plastered her Napa, Calif., bedroom with pictures of the space shuttle, proudly announcing her intention to be an astronaut. A week at Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., in seventh grade cemented her vision. But by high school, she concluded that astronaut wasn’t “a realistic job,” she says.
Flash forward to 2009: Rubins is running a lab at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Mass., focusing on virus-host interactions and viral genomics. A friend points out a NASA ad seeking astronaut candidates, and Rubins’ long-dormant obsession awakens. Since then, she has learned how to fly