There are only ten shuttle missions to the International Space Station remaining, and trunk space is pretty tight. This week, NASA plans to launch the $1 billion Columbus module, a scientific laboratory that will enable scientists to conduct a variety of materials science and biological research.
But that doesn’t mean space researchers and scientists are entirely happy. Some are still lamenting the expected loss of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a $1.5 billion cosmic-ray detector that probably won’t ever find its way up to the station. NASA looked into different ways of delivering the AMS as late as last year, but each option proved too expensive.—Gregory Mone
(Image credit: ESA)