The nonprofit has focused its efforts to find projects and outside investment in the technology-rich areas around Cambridge, Mass., Houston and Denver, and plans another drive in Silicon Valley in California soon, Ratliff says. Sticking points with potential partners include uncertainty over how long the station will continue to operate, and concern that the Casis agreement with NASA does not offer sufficient protection of intellectual property. Both issues are being addressed as Congress works on a NASA reauthorization bill.
Meanwhile, the space agency has started producing some meaningful results with the station research it funds through its own scientists and those affiliated with U.S. academic institutions. Among advances reported at the conference here were the discovery at the University of California, San Francisco, via some very sophisticated skeletal measurements of returning astronauts, that a combination of rigorous resistive exercise and doses of alendronate or other bisphosphonates in orbit can virtually eliminate the weakening that occurs when bones lose their gravity loading during extended missions.