The International Space Station

24.03.2015 |

Episode #7 of the course “Most ambitious science projects”

As an orbital lab, it takes $2 billion per year and thousands of personnel to maintain operations at the International Space Station. It was over $4 billion to build and measures over 32 thousand cubic feet (~906 cubic meters). From the latest count, more than 200 people from over 11 countries have been to the ISS, which has been the strongest support system for the longest continuous human presence in orbit. The ISS additionally acts as the host to the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), the most enormous and weightiest instrument that has ever flown in space.

 

Uses for Sciences

On the ISS, NASA researchers and astronauts along with their international partners try out different components of space machines and provide assistance to systems that may be used in long-distance flights in space for humans. Personnel also investigate human physiology, observing the weightlessness repercussions on bone density, the production of red blood cells, and changes to the immune system while in space for long periods of time.

Researchers have used the AMS since May 2011 for its abilities as a tool capable of locating strangelets, which are quarks constructed in particle accelerators that have not yet been studied in nature.

 

Uses for Practical Life

Experiments conducted on the ISS led to the significant finding that salmonella bacteria turn more resistant in space. That discovery, and the locating of the genes that led to the change, are the catalyst for the making of premiere vaccines to fight methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria salmonella, the staph infection that has affected thousands people for many years.


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