THE ISS JUST CELEBRATED ITS 15-YEAR ANNIVERSARY YESTERDAY. COULD IT SURVIVE ANOTHER 15?
n the movie The Martian, a stranded astronaut is able to survive for years in a habitat that NASA originally designed to last 30 days. The movie is fictional, but the premise is not so far from reality: a lot of the stuff that NASA designs ends up lasting well beyond its original expiration date–from Mars rovers to the Kepler Space Telescope.
From 1998 to 2011, five different space agencies assembled the the largest structure ever built in space. In the beginning, NASA thought the International Space Station would last through 2015. Well, it’s 2015 now, and the station’s 15-year anniversary just passed. It’s holding up pretty well for such an old-timer. Could it survive another 15 years?
Over the past few years, the ISS’s life expectancy has been extended to 2020, and then 2024. That gives us another 9 years to perform fun science experiments in microgravity and test out commercial spacecraft as well as technologies that could help us on a journey to Mars. But NASA may be able to squeeze even more years out of the space habitat.
A Life Beyond 2024?
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