Tom Eblen, Lexington Herald-Leader columnist, writes about the potential impact of space exploration in Kentucky, helpfully pointing out that it's not just about rockets and engineering:
What’s important to understand about this space research is that it isn’t about space. It’s about how earthly cells and molecules react and change in the micro-gravity environment of space. The economic and social implications of that research could be huge.
For example, most medical research about how humans react to micro-gravity has been focused on preventing harm to astronauts. But space could have beneficial effects on cells that might lead to more effective treatments for various diseases and conditions. Research already is being conducted on the space station to see how micro-gravity changes bacteria, which could lead to more effective vaccines for dangerous salmonella and staph infections.
'What could the applications of all of this be? The answer is, we don’t know, which is the foundation for all science,' Kimel said. 'Many scientific breakthroughs come when you’re looking for something else.'