• Question: Do you think there will ever be any new technology that could be used for new experiments on the International Space Station

    Asked by Frozen comet to Tom, Jon, Anne, Beth, COLFlight on 7 Oct 2015. This question was also asked by Daimena, Jake_Kiddell, Prince.
    • Photo: Anne Visscher

      Anne Visscher answered on 7 Oct 2015:

      Hi Everyone,

      For the moment yes: of course it depends on the lifespan of the ISS: the longer the station will be maintained, the more time there is to do more experiments using existing and new technologies. For example, the experiments that we are planning will use a mini Mass Spectrometer to measure molecules coming off seeds in outer space. The mini Mass Spectrometer is new technology that is being developed by our collaborators at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory of University College London.


    • Photo: Beth Healey

      Beth Healey answered on 8 Oct 2015:

      Definitely! The ISS is like a huge floating scientific laboratory so they are always pushing boundaries, using new technology and testing new ideas. That’s part of why it is so exciting! (and why I work in research!)

    • Photo: Columbus Flight Directors

      Columbus Flight Directors answered on 8 Oct 2015:

      Simon: Hey there! One of the things that make ISS unique over all the other orbiting vehicles and satellites in space is that since people live/visit the space station regularly it is possible to constantly change its configuration.

      What that means is new technology is being uploaded and used all the time on the ISS. The Space industry is a traditionally a very conservative industry because of the relatively large investments and potentially large losses involved but ESA and NASA as well as the other space agencies involved in ISS are working to make it easier to fly new technology as soon as it is available.

      One example are iPADs and Google Glasses which have already been flown to support experiments on improving the astronauts daily work environment.