Of all of the structures ever built by human hands which one would you guess was the most expensive to construct .Spanning across all of human existence if you account for inflation a number of reasonable guesses do come up. Is it the great pyramids, the World Trade Center, the Burj Khalifa, perhaps the Great Wall of China, the Empire State Building?
Well while most of these structures you might guess stand thousands of feet into the sky. The costliest human artifact resides much higher about 248 miles higher. The International Space Station is the world’s most expensive structure constructed in the history of humanity.This most pricey object came into existence at the cost of about a hundred and sixty billion dollars .Of this massive price tag the United States has contributed about a hundred billion, Russia has contributed about fifteen billion and some other of the major players include Canada and Japan. The first component of the ISS was way back in 1998 and the last adjustment was made to the station in 2011. Over the years little by little ,launch after launch the International Space Station has grown into what it is today. A habitable artificial satellite that can be seen with the naked eye from Earth’s surface. Keep in mind it costs millions of dollars in fuel and preparations just to launch one rocket. Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 holds the title of the cheapest rocket to launch and even that takes 62 million. That’s after years of space travel and significant strides in technology and the cost is still devastating. Back when the ISS was first created these launches were closer to about half a billion dollars. The International Space Station is without a doubt one of the most magnificent objects ever put together by human hands.
The massive satellite is about the size of two jumbo jets and circles the earth every 90 minutes. Originally the station was named Space Station freedom by Ronald Reagan as a jab at Russia in light of the Cold War, in the space race that followed. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union the Space Station lost the word freedom and gained the word International in its title. The ISS houses six crew members that typically live within its tubular corridors for about six months at a time and a few have been there for longer than a year. The purpose of the space station is to serve as a microgravity research laboratory in which fields such as biology, physics, human biology, astronomy, meteorology and other sciences are studied. The ISS is just the ninth space tation to be inhabited by humans .Shoutout to my Russian dog Laika gone but never forgotten.
For comparison of the 160 billion dollar price tag, the twin Mars exploration Rovers cost taxpayers eight hundred million dollars and fifty five billion to a hundred billion for a Mars semi direct campaign leading to human missions to Mars. This campaign is still very much in the works and is the only single space travel related venture that comes close to the price of the ISS. Ronald Reagan’s first proposed cost of the space station freedom was a humble eight billion dollars but in American fashion that estimate has been put to rest. If you want to get a better understanding of just how much money it takes to maintain the ISS, just look at the cost of a bottle of water. Due to the finite amount of storage above the ISS ,just one bottle of water cost about ten thousand dollars. This outrageous cost stems from how expensive it is to provide the International Space Station with essential supplies. Each supply run to the ISS, costs several million dollars, with the launch itself costing up to a half a billion dollars. As such cargo space is at a premium and every item needs to be costed to ensure value for money.Looking at each items weight ,volume and necessity, living In such a remote and inhospitable location even water as something of a commodity and a costly one at that. A result of this insane cost of water is that the ISS has the most advanced water filtration system in existence.
The filtration is so advanced that less than ten percent of water is unable to be reused leaving about 90% ready and able to be recycled back into the supply of water. So fresh off the Cold War when a couple Russians and Americans were aboard the ISS they most certainly drank each other’s piss, what can I say. Space always tends to find a way to bring people together. The water reclamation system harvests moisture from all possible sources aboard the ISS and I mean all of the possible sources from condensation and humidity through shower and oral hygiene water to perspiration and yes even the urine. But the line isn’t just drawn at human urine even the laboratory rats contribute their urine as well ,Oh another fun fact,there are rats in space. This is a hundred and sixty billion dollar cost has spanned over 30 years because of the extreme conditions namely heat, the ISS was never meant to last that long. The estimated termination of the ISS has been pushed back over and over again and we are long past the first estimated year of termination. As it stands right now NASA expects the International Space Station to last until 2024, in those four years you can expect tens of billions more in spending to maintain the satellite. This funneling of money to keep the ISS functioning has led to plenty of controversy. Just recently the Trump administration explained that it will be shifting the funding of ISS out of NASA and the US government and will begin to transition into privatization of the International Space Station. Of course anything coming from the Trump administration or any sign of American politics is going to have strong opposition these days. One of the main arguments against the halting of a government-funded Space Station stands on all the advancements the ISS has led to. You now know the cost it took and takes to run the most expensive structure ever created, but the money trail doesn’t stop at just a hundred and sixty billion. In fact there are billions more, that have come from advancements in technology, that would have never been achieved if it weren’t for the International Space Station and other space travel.
Just to name a few of the multibillion-dollar adventures that have been produced due to the advancements in space travel .camera phones were created due to advancements in the 1990s when Jet Propulsion Laboratory worked to create cameras small enough to fit onto a spacecraft .The first camera found was created in 2000 in japan and it’s widely recognized that this advancement was jump-started due to the strides in space travel. I don’t think I need to explain how massive the camera phone industry is and I think it would put a hundred and sixty billion to shame.And while that number is steadily rising the camera industry since smartphones has plummeted. Since 2010 the general time smartphones became a ubiquitous item. The worldwide shipment of camera phones has dropped over 500% .Another technology in place today because of space travel is scratch resistant lenses. Turns out no one really had an answer for glasses getting scratched up until we had to figure out something for the windshields of spacecraft puncturing the Earth’s atmosphere. The Lewis Research Center patent on scratch resistant lenses was made for just that. In nowadays you can pay a few extra bucks of any glasses store to get that space technology built into your specs. Another technology that develops directly from space travel is one that isn’t as concerned with making money, as it is saving lives. Even though the industry has made plenty of cash over the years. The cat scan was created ,thanks to the previously-mentioned Jet Propulsion laboratories work on creating perfect digital image technology for the space program .On the ISS specifically red LED lights have been used to grow plants in hopes of fueling space travelers in deep space. Back on earth red LED is used in a medical device called warp 10, warp 10 helps to treat chronic pain by emitting energy near-infrared. This technology is well over my head but thanks to the International Space Station way over our heads. This device has helped millions cope with chronic pain. Nike Air Trainer shoes wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for space travel in fact a former NASA engineer first pitched the idea. The shoe design in material is designed from astronauts suit technology. This particular line of shoes has made the most successful shoe brand .Memory foam is another massive industry started by NASA, the material was simply developed to keep our space travel more comfortable, apparently the trips quite long. Memory foam is used by popular brands like tempur-pedic and has become a multi-billion dollar industry. The developments that stem from space travel go on and on wireless headphones, the jaws of life, artificial limbs, freeze-dried food and the computer mouse. Out of fear of sounding repetitive I’ll just say that the impact of the International Space Station and space travel in terms of dollars is in the trillions.
If you’re wondering what will happen to the ISS if funding is cut and maintenance of the structure ceases and propellant of the orbiting chunk of metal and memory foam stops being pumped in. well the plan is to just let the whole thing fall into the ocean at least whatever doesn’t get burned up on its way back to earth, seems poetic that such a marvel of technology in human innovation would end in such a stark and dramatic death. The space station is not fully in outer space it’s in Earth’s upper atmosphere so it needs to be reboosted every so often to keep it from free-falling, thanks to Earth’s gravity. The cost of this propellant is about 300 million dollars a year by most estimates. The debate rages on in such a polarized state in the u.s. to keep pumping billions into space or just cut it off and use the money somewhere else. In any case the International Space Station is one of the most innovative and remarkable artifacts ever created by the human race.
what are your thoughts on the ISS isn’t all worth it or should we just let the satellite sick let me know in the comments section below.That’s all about the MOST EXPENSIVE THING EVER BUILT.Thank You.