Thursday, July 5, 2012

How ISS Benefits Humanity

It really irks me when I hear people talk about NASA being a waste of money. "Why put money into research in space when we have so many problems to deal with here on the ground?"  What kills me about this is the lack of understanding just how beneficial NASA research is to us "here on the ground".  I know I've gotten on my soap box about this before, but I just happened across a NASA publication entitled ISS Benefit for Humanity that details what benefits have actually funneled down to the general public that they have no knowledge of. 
Medically, there have been studies on bone loss in space that can help with osteoporosis in the elderly, salmonella and MRSA vaccines have been tested, advanced ultrasound equipment is being developed and tested for better medical diagnosis, experiments have been conducted on micro-encapsulation of cancer fighting drugs for better delivery of cancer treatments to the affected tissues, and water purification methods have been developed and tested that can be used around the world in areas where people lack access to clean water.  The latter is a direct result of the ISS system I currently work on and above you can see pictures of the Water Recovery System racks (taken from the publicly available document I link to above).
The ISS is also instrumental in Earth observations that help with emergency and disaster response, climate change, and tracking of oceanic traffic (seen above).  Not to mention the education of children around the world through public affairs events.  And this is just some of the stuff that's going on right now...   

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