NASA has conducted experiments aboard the International Space Station (ISS) for two decades with the release of a short video highlighting the important role it plays in the field of science.
The video (below) also includes footage of the space station's early days when it was converted from an orbital outpost where astronauts could safely live to an orbital laboratory where the same astronauts could conduct complex – and not so complex – experiments in the unique Microgravity conditions.
This transformation involved shipping devices like freezers, glove boxes, microscopes, and other necessary scientific paraphernalia. The actual experiments could then be sent on regular supply missions to the space station about 250 miles above Earth.
The ever-changing crew aboard the space station has conducted thousands of experiments for scientists on Earth in its 20th year of existence, covering everything from biotechnology and physics to human research and educational activities.
"It's been an extraordinary journey over the last 20 years to watch how this all came together," says space biologist Anna-Lisa Paul from the University of Florida in the video.
Another associate, Eugene Boland of Techshot in Indiana, believes most people don't know how much space exploration has affected society.
In fact, the more than 3,000 space-based experiments carried out to date have contributed to the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, and bone diseases such as osteoporosis, to name a few.
With crewed missions to Mars in mind, and possibly beyond, in the decades to come, research also included work to find effective ways to grow food in microgravity conditions so that astronauts can support themselves on long journeys to places far from Earth.
The video also includes high praise for those who live and work on board the space station.
"Having the astronauts there to help us was a critical part of being able to do more complicated science and get more science out of the science you were doing," added Sharmila Bhattacharya, space biology program scientist at NASA , add. "You were amazing as people who could fix your experiment when you needed something."
These astronauts included the youngest visitors Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, who came for the first astronaut flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. Future residents are currently being hired and trained by NASA.
For more information on the space station's ongoing research and science, please visit the NASA website.