It's not very often you can say that you've lived in a home that's quite literally on the go, and even less common to say that it's been in space. For a very few number of people, they can rock these habitation bragging rights while being hailed as the scientific pioneers that they are.
Since November 2nd, 2000, the International Space Station has constantly had at least one human living in it, starting with the crew of Expedition 1. Currently the ISS is home to Expedition 45, with Commander Scott Kelly of NASA in the middle of his "Year In Space" experiment. Alongside Kelly, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko is also spending 365 days in space; the two men are basically guinea pigs in this first-ever experiment on how humans handle being off Earth for extended periods of time. What's even cooler about this is the fact that Kelly has a twin on Earth; when he arrives back on ground, scientists will study the effect of space on a human against his brother. For the two men to give up a year of their lives, being away from friends and family in the name of science and human progression, it's a colossal thing to do and they should be commended endlessly for it.
Chris Hadfield is a damn
national international treasure, I tell you.
While monetary issues, thanks to the United States congress and Russian federal sector, kept the ISS from starting off on a good foot, it has no doubt given scientists insight into our universe. Things were going along smoothly until February 1st, 2003, when the Columbia shuttle exploded on it's re-entry to earth, killing 7 astronauts on board. After this tragedy, it was hard to keep a consistent human presence on board the ISS, as transportation needed to be greatly re-evaluated.
Piece by piece, the astronauts that fly up to the ISS have been building on and repairing the space station, ensuring that future inhabitants have the space and materials needed to conduct their own experiments. Different portions of the ISS have been added on since 2000, making the expanse of the space station grow to a massive size, roughly that of an American football field.
Always being an international effort, it's fantastic to see that nations of differing religions, politics, economic climates and so on, can come together as a species to further the possibility of life beyond Earth. While on board the ISS, scientists have conducted experiments that helped aid in battling various diseases, as well as having published over 1,200 articles outlining their research findings. Just over 220 people have floated around in it's corridors, representing 17 countries.
Even though there is a current tension between the United States and Russia, a little bit of goodwill is being used to keep the ISS going at least through 2024. By working together, and realizing we are all one species, simply trying to survive in this deadly universe, we can get ourselves to Mars and beyond... and we owe many thanks to the advancements made in the ISS.