Fiery Demise Spells End of Longest Research Run

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Science  09 Mar 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5510, pp. 1891
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5510.1891

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MOSCOW-- Next week, the Mir space station is scheduled to be brought down. While some rue lost opportunities for further research, many others are feting the creaky old station for 15 years of unexpectedly robust research--the longest running space laboratory ever. Although increasingly hobbled by declining budgets and aging equipment, cosmonauts made important findings, from measuring the ratio of heavy helium atoms in the interstellar medium--a key value for evaluating models of how the universe evolved--to learning how to grow food in space for long-duration flights.