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ISS NASA Science

Video Tour of the International Space Station 71

SternisheFan writes with an excerpt from Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, writing at Slate: "Before she came back to Earth in a ball of fire surrounding her Russian re-entry capsule, astronaut Sunita Williams took time out of her packing for the trip home to give a nickel tour of the International Space Station. ... I know the video's long, but if you have the time I do suggest watching the whole thing. I have very mixed feelings about the space station; it cost a lot of money, and in my opinion it hasn't lived up to the scientific potential NASA promised when it was being designed. But watching this video reminded me of the good that's come out of it: There is science being done there; we're learning how to design and build hardware for long-term space travel; we're learning just how to live in space (and NASA just announced it will be sending humans into space for an entire year, an unprecedented experiment); and we're finding new ways for nations and individuals to cooperate in space."
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Video Tour of the International Space Station

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  • Re:unprecedented ? (Score:5, Informative)

    by stephanruby ( 542433 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @07:51PM (#42304341)

    They probably meant unprecedented for the US.

    When it comes to manned space exploration, the US is lowering the bar lower and lower every day.

    Valeri Vladimirovich Polyakov (Russian: , born Valeri Ivanovich Korshunov on April 27, 1942) is a former Russian cosmonaut. He is the holder of the record for the longest single spaceflight in human history, staying aboard the Mir space station for more than 14 months (437 days 18 hours) during one trip.[1] His combined space experience is more than 22 months.[2]

    Hopefully, the Russians will help us. I don't think we'd be able to do this without their help anyway.

  • Re:Research (Score:5, Informative)

    by SternisheFan ( 2529412 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @08:07PM (#42304415)

    Research is rarely profitable. Most of our knowledge of how to do it right comes from testing out all possible ways of doing it wrong. So when you point and say "Well, this particular project didn't pan out" as a reason not to undertake any future projects, you're misrepresenting the facts. It's true, most research fails. But the research that succeeds more than makes up for the costs of all that other research before it. Every technology within your range of vision right now was developed through a iterative process of failure.

    And yet, here we are, and I am thankful that, unlike the editor and submitter, I can see the big picture. The space program has contributed way more in commercial developments than it has cost us. Way, way, massively way more. And that's in spite of its bureaucratic failures (of which many have written small books on -- see Appendix D of the Challenger Disaster report for one such example). Research is essential. If you want to argue about the cost of the space program, pick something else -- there are juicier targets than that.

    Submitter here:, just FYI, I or Timothy didn't offer our opinion here, it's the author of the article's opinion. I happen to like anything space related, and submitted this because it's an interesting video, and thought other people here would think it is too.

  • Compare and contrast (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ford Prefect ( 8777 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @08:24PM (#42304521) Homepage

    IMAX (!) video [] from inside the Russian Mir space station. Dark, cramped and most likely very smelly - still an incredible achievement. International Space Station? Some kind of progress!

  • by jonwil ( 467024 ) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @09:04PM (#42304733)

    They had plans to build such a module but it was canceled along with other modules due to costs and due to the lack of Space Shuttle launch slots thanks to the Columbia disaster.
    See []

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming