Blueprint for a Space Station
by Peter Tyson

By the time astronauts put the finishing touches on it in 2005 at the earliest, the International Space Station (ISS) as it's currently configured will consist of a million pounds of hardware, cover an area equaling two football fields, and cost over $50 billion. In the three digital drawings at left, learn about key components of the ISS, from the Canadian-built robotic arm (which will be able to 'walk' around the station) to the Japanese Experimental Module with its "back porch" (which will allow astronauts to conduct experiments in the vacuum of space).

Run your mouse over any of the three drawings—From Above, From Below, and Canada Arm—and click on various components for a brief description.

Peter Tyson is Online Producer of NOVA.

Note: All digital-artist conceptions and photographs in this feature courtesy of NASA.