The $30 billion space station planned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is likely to be the biggest United States science project of the next two decades--employing the most scientists and engineers, drawing the most federal science funds, and commanding the most public attention of any government-supported research.

Yet a growing consensus among U.S. scientists, several of whom have recently testified before Congress, is that the space station Freedom will not yield significant benefits for science; that it, in fact, has no scientific rationale at all.

In the course of the space station's design and recent redesign, a number of its planned laboratories have been either removed or scaled back. It has lost a number of external science experiments, including a space telescope and instruments for observing Earth. Also removed was a large superconducting magnet, which was to represent a major step forward for cosmic ray research. The microgravity...

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