There was a moment of panic down here on earth last week, when the computers aboard the International Space Station (ISS) that control the supply of oxygen and water crashed. As scientists and engineers struggle to get the computers working again, a physicist declares that the ISS is a waste of time and money.

Robert L. Park, author of Voodoo Science, thinks we should not be sending astronauts in space, and has even testified before Congress on this subject. He says, “This is yet another example of why the station is not worth all the trouble.” He says his views are shared by a large part of the scientific community, although many feel constrained about publicly discussing their views.

“What are we risking lives for?” Park asks. “The space station has not delivered on its promise?it hasn’t produced a single piece of usable science. The successes in space science have all come from our robotics programs. We’d be much better to focus our limited resources on those projects.”

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