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Five space-faring countries pledge to continue human exploration of space

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Heads of International Space Station (ISS) agencies meet in Quebec City, Canada (Photo Courtesy: NASA)

Heads of International Space Station (ISS) agencies from Canada, Europe, Japan, Russia and the United States of America met in Quebec City, Canada on Thursday (March 01) and reviewed the scientific, technological and social benefits of their space collaboration and discussed plans to broaden the benefits through advancing human exploration of space.

They noted human exploration of space continues to yield valuable benefits to society and is strengthening partnerships among space-faring nations. ISS triggered success in three major areas, engineering achievements, international partnership and the ongoing progress being made through science, said a joint statement by the heads of ISS agencies at the end of the meet.

The heads recognized new opportunity for discovery made possible by the research capabilities of ISS, the growth in commercial endeavours and possible educational impact brought about by the permanent human presence in space.  They also lauded its role in motivating young people around the world to learn about science, technology, engineering and mathematics. More than 40 million students have participated in human spaceflight to date through communications, downlinks and interactive experiments with station crew members.

The participating agencies released specific successful humanitarian accomplishments of the ISS in education, human health, Earth observation and disaster response that will improve the lives of many throughout the world.

International Space Station (Photo Courtesy: NASA)

The Space Station is a unique laboratory and its research provided a better understanding of certain aspects of human health like aging, trauma, disease and environment. Several biological and human physiological investigations have yielded important results, including improved understanding of basic physiological processes normally masked by gravity and development of new medical technology and protocols driven by the need to support astronaut health. Advances in telemedicine, disease models, psychological stress response system, nutrition, cell behavior and environmental health are just a few examples of benefits that have been gained from the unique space station microgravity environment.

International Space Station also promotes observations aimed at understanding and resolving environmental issues of Earth. It contributes by collecting data on global climate, environmental change and natural hazards using its unique complement of crew-operated and automated Earth-observation payloads.

The presence of humans onboard the station provides a foundation for numerous educational activities aimed at capturing the interest and motivating the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM.

International Space Station is estimated to have cost 100 billion US dollars since its assembly in orbit started in 1998 and its operations are expected to continue until at least 2020 according to present plans.



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