NASA, scientists weigh benefits of international space station.
budget-keepers focus on setting
priorities for the space agency
, many in the world space community are turning attention to the benefits a mostly complete international space station will provide global science.
While detractors say the ISS is a costly lab that may never see a great return on investment
, building the ISS has cost NASA $48.5 billion, the leaders of the ISS agencies from Canada, Europe, Japan, Russia, and the United States met in Tokyo, Japan recently to reaffirm the importance of full exploitation of the station's scientific, engineering, utilization, and education potential.
NASA telescopes watch cosmic violence, mysteries unravel
The group says now that the ISS is mostly complete, the station's crew and its US, European, Japanese and Russian labs will expand the pace of space-based research to unprecedented levels. Nearly 150 experiments are currently under way on the station, and more than 400 experiments have been conducted since research began nine years ago. These experiments already are leading to advances in the fight against food poisoning, new methods for delivering medicine to cancer cells and the development of more capable engines and materials for use on Earth and in space.