Criticism. Essay. Fiction. Science. Weather.
From 1983 to 2000 many Space Shuttle flights carried aboard them one of the most versatile payloads ever ferried into space - Spacelab
. Not be confused with Skylab
, Spacelab was designed by the European Space Agency to be a modular laboratory. It was used on a total of twenty-five shuttle flights to provide a platform for performing experiments in microgravity
During the flight of STS-90 Spacelab contained Neurolab. This module, which has perhaps one the most comically bad websites
ever to spoil the Johnson Space Center's domain, was created to study the effects of microgravity on the human body, specifically the central nervous system.
For as much as this might sound like the "study of the effects of weightlessness on tiny screws
" it had, as all NASA missions did
and do, important implications for the future of space exploration. How, for instance, could astronauts accomplish the six month trip to Mars
without knowing how microgravity would affect their bodies?
Once the International Space Station
was approved by President Clinton the need for Spacelab was minimal and it was gradually phased out of recent shuttle missions. It's functions and equipment, however, will live on, reincarnated, in bits and pieces, on the ISS.