House Committee Members and ISS Astronauts Reflect on Apollo 11, Look to Future
Members of the House Science, Space, and Technology (SS&T) Committee and U.S. astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) via live downlink with the committee today (July 24) reflected on this week’s 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 human moon landing and the importance of continuing the nation’s leadership in space.
Committee members asked NASA astronauts Steve Swanson and Reid Wiseman about, among other topics, the challenges of space debris, the space station’s contributions to society, and the possibility of encountering life on other planets one day (to which Swanson answered “it will happen”).
The ISS is routinely occupied by a six-person crew and is a testbed for future human deep space missions, such as to Mars. Three Russians and one European currently live and work with Swanson and Wiseman on the laboratory flying 250 miles or so above Earth.
“Space inspires future generations to dream big and work hard,” committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) said. Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) added that she welcomed President Obama’s proposal to extend ISS to at least 2024 and hopes there will be a committee hearing to comprehensively examine the space station’s contributions to human space exploration and basic and applied research.
Following the roughly 20-minute call with the ISS astronauts, the committee offered a showcase of hardware and technologies being tested on the ISS, as well as a panel discussion explaining the ISS research from representatives of the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) and NASA.
A webcast of the discussion with the ISS astronauts, including opening statements by Smith and Johnson, is on the committee’s website.
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