- What has he achieved?
The key thing from my point of view is all the public outreach work to schools etc. in the UK and elsewhere. This effort has been really strong and, as someone who grew up during Apollo, I’m sure it will help inspire a new generation to think about space and science more generally.
Scientifically, aside from looking at how space affects human beings, the achievements will be more limited. For many areas of research, including much of space astronomy, the ISS is not an ideal environment.
Technologically, we are gradually learning how to live and work in space, and that is part of a long term investment. Whether the ISS is the best place for this is unclear. We saw with the BEAM how lower cost alternatives to the ISS might come about, and the UK is a world leader in development of lower cost approaches to getting into space, whether via Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic or through the air breathing rockets of Reaction Engines Ltd and their Skylon concept.
- Was it worth all the time/money/effort?