International Space Station’s Boon to Scientific Achievement Just Beginning, NASA Open to Support Citizens’ Research Aboard
Look to the sky just before sunrise or right after sunset, and you may spot a slow-moving, bright dot. Hovering 220-miles above the earth, this distant spot is the International Space Station. Scientific research is the priority for the six-person crew that lives and works there. It’s a laboratory like no other, where researchers can test technologies for traveling deeper into space or find unique insight into questions about life on Earth.
ISS scientist Tara Ruttley says research into astrophysics, biology, technology and other disciplines are tested within the station’s microgravity laboratories “We’re the only orbiting lab ever…where all these disciplines are connected together,” she says.
Now, NASA is calling for research proposals on how the ISS may be used to develop improved exploration technologies. “The research pursuits that get me the most excited are the ones that enable us to go somewhere deeper out into space,” says George Nelson, manager of the ISS Technology Demonstration Office. “You’re basically having to transport an entire ecosystem wherever you go, so environmental support systems play a big role in the type of technologies we need to develop.”
Since its creation, the ISS has distinguished itself for novel and interesting breakthroughs towards scientific understanding of our world and the beyond. While NASA is already planning for future ISS research efforts, it is worthwhile to note the station’s significant scientific achievements from the past 14 years.