10 Reasons Why Space Exploration Matters to You

It Will Be Good for Your Health
The Phantom Torso, seen here on the International Space Station (2001), measures the effects of radiation on organs inside the body, using a torso similar to those used to train radiologists on Earth. NASA via Getty Images

The International Space Station alone has generated scores of medical innovations with uses on Earth, such as a method for delivering cancer-fighting medication directly to tumors; gadgetry that a nurse can hold to perform ultrasounds and transmit the results to a doctor thousands of miles away; and a robotic arm that can perform delicate surgery inside an MRI machine.

NASA scientists, in an effort to protect astronauts from losing bone and muscle in the microgravity environment of space, also helped a pharmaceutical company to test Prolia, a drug that today helps protect elderly people from osteoporosis. It was easier to test this drug in space as astronauts lose around 1.5 percent of their bones each month in microgravity, whereas an elderly woman on Earth would lose 1.5 percent per year to osteoporosis [source: Kiger].