Future Space Exploration

What's the future of the International Space Station?
Answered by Waleed Abdalati
  • Waleed Abdalati

    Waleed Abdalati

  1. Waleed Abdalati NASA Chief Scientist


    The president has decided to extend its operations at least to 2020, so it'll be around for roughly another 10 years. And with a full-crew capacity, we should be able to do many experiments that not just help us understand life and physics. We're constrained in our experiments on Earth to the gravity and environment. When you look at something in a different way and you remove the gravity variable, you understand it very differently; you understand the aging process, osteoporosis, by looking at bone growth in a microgravity environment. 

    You understand things like combustion. When you take away the gravity variable, and you watch how combustion occurs in the absence of gravity, you can understand what happens on Earth. These kinds of experiments, the development of vaccines, biomedical experiments, they're all in the queue for the space station. But more than that, the international collaboration, living and functioning in space as a stepping stone to the future, and I'm frankly quite excited about the potential of commercial enterprises or entities taking us to and from this place.

    Think about it, American business shuttling us to and from the station. This is really the start to the realization of what we use to think of back in the days of the Jetsons. It's not quite like that, but as a catalyst for technology, a catalyst for business, a catalyst for innovation and a science laboratory, I think it has a great future.

    More answers from Waleed Abdalati »

Still Curious?
  • Which missions comprised Project Gemini?

    Answered by Discovery Channel

  • Why would we want to live on Mars?

    Answered by Science Channel

  • Could I be wearing part of a spacesuit?

    Answered by Science Channel


What are you curious about?

Image Gallery