• Question: What would you say to people who think we're wasting money on the ISS?

    Asked by spacefan226 to Andrea, Charlie 🚀, Col Op, Kirsty, Vinita on 14 Jun 2016. This question was also asked by Evelyn.M.
    • Photo: Kirsty Lindsay

      Kirsty Lindsay answered on 14 Jun 2016:

      That is a very tough question.

      For me one of the key things about ISS is the international cooperation between the countries involved, even if on Earth the countries aren’t the greatest of friends. An example is USA and Russia- politically on Earth they don’t get a long very well, but in space, and space science they work together really well. I also think ISS is important to inspire people- to study, to work hard, to explore.

      For material things (so the things we can touch) microgravity research is in lots of fields, like growing crystals to make turbine blades for jet engines or making medicines more efficient to treat bone diseases.

      So I guess I would say to them that the ISS is worth it, for many reasons, some we can see, and some that are harder to see a direct link.

    • Photo: Andrea Boyd

      Andrea Boyd answered on 14 Jun 2016:

      It’s a tiny percentage of each country’s budget.

      All of NASA is only 0.5% of the US budget, and the ISS takes only 12% of that. So it’s barely anything.
      In comparison: US spending on wars every year costs 21% of their budget.

      In Europe (including the UK) the ISS cost €1/person ( 80 pence)

      There has never been anything like the ISS and there never will be again – in addition to massive advancements in engineering and science it is the greatest international collaboration in history and it has been a major reason behind peace and stability of the most powerful nations in the world.

      Here’s a list of all the research we’ve done on ISS so far: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_research_on_the_International_Space_Station

      All of that for just £0.80