“First Sequenced Genome in Space”
This was one of those projects that started as a “what if” kind of thing…. what if we sent the G-nome to space?
That simple question posed to me by the CEO of Ambry Genetics started this project and after quite a lot more work than I ever anticipated we actually launched the little mascot into space… He ended up going to just over 109,000ft before actually jumping out… I was very adamant about doing it for real. so all the footage from space you see here is 100% real and I also had to learn how to build scale models as you can see in here as well. This entire project was completed with the help of only 3 others. One happened to previously work at nasa and started a company called high altitude science, so that was a huge help when it came to all the calculations of launching something into space and actually recovering it. The video received a bit of press at the time and gained just shy of a million views on youtube. Additionally we included in the space craft a sample that we had performed full sequencing of the entire genome on, making it the first sequenced genome in space(which proved to be a nice title).
The G-nome was a character we created as a mascot of sorts. The original inspiration came from a sketch by a scientist at the company. It was a little gangster gnome called G-nome, a play on the human genome. There were many different iterations of the G-nome, including a family.
I oversaw the design of the G-nome as well as all of the scale content we created. I created a holiday card every year using the G-nome as the subject.
We used the Gnome in trade shows as giveaways, It became a normal thing to walk into doctors offices and see the whole collection.
Here are a few shots from the project.
The original copy that accompanied the film:
“The purpose of the Ambry Argonaut mission is to transcend Gnome limits. Supported by a team of experts Ambry G-Nome ascended to 102,900 feet in a Argopheric balloon and made a freefall jump rushing toward earth at super fast speeds before parachuting to the ground. His successful feat on March 26, 2014 holds the potential to provide valuable research data for future gnome pioneers.
The Ambry Argonaut team brings together the world’s leading minds in genetics, bioinformatics, engineering, genetic counseling, capsule creation and balloon fabrication. Retired United States Air Force Colonel Joseph Kittinger, was the first to do a similar jump from 102,800 ft in 1960, Joe ascended in helium balloon sent up from the back of a pick up truck. He wore a pressurized suit on the way up in an open, unpressurized gondola similar to the one Ambry G-Nome used. No gnome has ever attempted anything like this before and it was unknown if a gnome could survive a jump from the edge of space. But with a lot of hard work and dedication from Ambry’s finest and thanks to a little help from our friends over at High Altitude Science we were able to make this a successful mission. On his Journey Ambry G-nome managed to sneak aboard a dna sample that full genome sequencing was performed on, making this the first sequenced genome in space.”