Sunday, June 11, 2006

Scrap The International Space Station? Let's Not.

Alan Boyle reports on the usual rationales for keeping the International Space Station. (Here.) In Boyle's article, Geman astronaut Thomas Reiter argues that the station has promise as a space science platform and that the time is now to use it.

Often left unsaid in debates over the value of the ISS is the station's status as humanity's only permanent outpost in space. The ISS has been continuously occupied since November 2, 2000. That's almost 6 years of humans living in Near Earth Orbit and claiming space as our home. That's got to count for something.

About four centuries ago British settlement of North America got off to a bad start in Roanoke. The colony was abandoned and the fate of the colonists remains a mystery to this day. Jamestown became the first successful British colony in North America and has been continuously occupied since 1607. The question for spacers is whether they would like to see the ISS become another Roanoke or another Jamestown.


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