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Now why didn’t they think of this before? The ISS partners met today to discuss how to use the space station as a test bed for missions beyond low Earth orbit.
As I wrote in Leaving Earth, a space station is nothing more than a prototype interplanetary spaceship. This kind of research is really its main purpose, and I am glad that the governments running ISS are finally beginning to recognize it, even though their engineers have known it for decades. Note too that the press release above also gives a nice overview of some of the ongoing research on ISS that is directly related to learning how to survive in space for long periods.