economist: It is true that science can be done in the space station. But science can also be done dressed in a clown suit atop a large Ferris wheel. The argument ought to be over where is the best place for it. Performing experiments in micro gravity does not require a $100 billion platform. Moreover, much of the work that can genuinely be done only on the station is justified through another magnificently circular leap of logic. Research into the effects of micro gravity on human health and the growth of soy beans, for instance, is useful only in the context of a manned mission to Mars.
it doesn’t pay to lift humans out of earths gravity well. billions each year could instead be spent on research and development for cheaper transport options, spurring the advent of a commercial space industry.