If you ask NASA astronauts Nicole Stott and Leland Melvin, the International Space Station is the ultimate symbol of global cooperation. An engineering feat, the ISS is the result of cooperation between five space agencies—NASA, the European Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the Canadian Space Agency, and Roscosmos (Russia)—sharing knowledge, resources, and ideas. Because of it, the world is able to monitor natural disasters, research water purification, develop more effective vaccines, and accomplish a host of other scientific research.

Both Stott and Melvin, who have had the privilege of visiting the ISS, are lending their unique perspectives to One Strange Rock, a National Geographic nature documentary co-executive-produced by Darren Aronofsky and Jane Root. We spoke with the pair about visiting the ISS, and why world leaders should use it as a model.