All Press Releases for July 28, 2015

Space Station's Continued Accomplishments Benefit Humanity

The extensive achievements from research conducted aboard the International Space Station are documented in the newly updated "International Space Station Benefits for Humanity."

    HOUSTON, TX, July 28, 2015 /24-7PressRelease/ -- As demonstrated throughout history, cooperation between international entities has brought great change across the world. So the potential benefits from an unprecedented global collaboration among five member space agencies representing 15 countries to create an International Space Station can be far-reaching. Through this partnership, the extensive achievements from research conducted aboard the International Space Station are documented in the newly updated "International Space Station Benefits for Humanity."

This book summarizes the scientific, technological and educational accomplishments of research from the orbiting outpost that has had and will continue to have an impact on life on Earth. The compilation of feature stories by the partner space agencies in the book are categorized under the disciplines of human health, Earth observation and disaster response, global education and a new section, innovative technology.

The partner agencies whose collaboration on the space station has resulted in benefits for all of humankind include the Canadian Space Agency, or CSA; the European Space Agency, or ESA; the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA; the Russian Federal Space Agency, or Roscosmos; and NASA. The stories contributed to the book are the work of writers representing each of these agencies.

"People do not realize how much their lives today have been made better by the space station," said NASA International Space Station Chief Scientist Julie Robinson, Ph.D. "You would be surprised to know that station research has resulted in devices that can help control asthma and sensor systems that significantly improve our ability to monitor the Earth and respond to natural hazards and catastrophes, among many other discoveries."

Biology, biotechnology and human physiology research are leading to new insights into human health on Earth. One of those new insights involves a device that measures nitric oxide in exhaled air during spaceflight that was adapted to monitor levels of asthma control and the efficiency of asthma medication to help prevent asthma attacks on Earth.

Scientists use the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM), also known as Kibo (meaning "hope" in Japanese), to research effective drugs that may improve the lives of patients suffering around the globe, meaning Kibo literally provides hope to mankind on Earth.

"The International Space Station and Kibo remind me of a computer," said Deputy Director Kazuyuki Tasaki of the JAXA JEM Utilization Center. "After being invented, the computer disseminated diverse public knowledge applicable in many fields, such as computing, simulation, word processing, games and the Internet. The space station and Kibo also offer huge potential for benefitting humankind."

With commercial firms and commercial service providers accessing the space station more often, the book also describes how a new economy is developing in low-Earth orbit. Businesses, researchers and educators interested in learning about the space station's facilities and how to fly experiments to orbit can work with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), which manages the station's national lab under a cooperative agreement with NASA and helps maximize its use. The nonprofit CASIS selects research and funds projects, and also connects investors with scientists, making access to the station faster and easier while fostering America's new space economy.

The space station offers a unique vantage for observing the Earth's ecosystems with hands-on and automated equipment. The station's Earth remote sensing capability allows it to serve as a potential source for data during disaster response as part of the International Disaster Charter. A space-based instrument, ISS-RapidScat, monitors ocean winds from the vantage point of the space station to help with weather forecasting and hurricane monitoring. These systems are just a few that demonstrate the use of the space station as a platform for the installation and operation of a wide variety of instruments that help add to our collective knowledge of the global climate, environmental change and natural hazards.

Since 2010, the Vessel-ID System, installed on ESA's Columbus module, has been helping advance the ability for coast guards to track ships around the world and already aided in orienting rescue services for a lone survivor stranded in the North Sea.

"The International Space Station with its European Columbus laboratory is steadily producing lots of important research results which are relevant for many areas of life on Earth," said Martin Zell, head of ESA's Space Station Utilisation and Support. "Experimental demonstration of new technologies as well as the interaction between astronauts and younger generations on Earth for educational activities are invaluable benefits from the permanent human space laboratory in low-Earth orbit."

Experiments investigating thermal processes, nanostructures, fluids and other physical characteristics are taking place to develop technologies and discover new innovations in those fields. Researchers developed a medical device that can quickly identify diseases like HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis on-site using only small amount of energy. This device was a result of knowledge gained from the Capillary Flow Experiment (CFE), a suite of fluid physics experiments conducted on the space station.

CSA's robotic heavy-lifters aboard the space shuttle and station, Canadarm, Canadarm2 and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (Dextre), inspired medical technology that is changing the lives of patients on Earth.

"Technologies developed for the assembly and maintenance of the station are helping to save lives here on Earth," said Chief Scientist Nicole Buckley of CSA's Life Sciences and International Space Station Utilization. "The Canadian robotics system that helped build and now operates on the International Space Station has led to tools that give doctors new ways to detect cancer, operate on sick children, and perform neurosurgery on patients once considered to be inoperable."

In addition to all of the scientific investigations, the presence of humans aboard the station provides a foundation for continued educational activities aimed at capturing student and teacher interest and motivating the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. Projects such as the Amateur Radio on International Space Station, or ARISS; Earth Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students, or EarthKAM; and SPHERES Zero Robotics competition, among others, have allowed for global student, teacher and public access to space through student image acquisition and radio contacts with crew members. Space station educational activities will continue to challenge and inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, writers, artists, politicians and explorers.

Through advancing the state of scientific knowledge of Earth, working to protect human health, developing innovative technologies and providing a space platform that educates and inspires future generations, these benefits will drive the legacy of the space station as its research strengthens economies and enhances the quality of life on Earth for all people.

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