There’s a lot of boring foundational work happening on the ISS right now: 3D printing in space, growing plants in space, gathering data on and experimenting with maintaining long-term health in space, probably other stuff.
It’s as boring to outsiders as protocol research was before TCP/IP and the commercial internet. But you don’t get YouTube or a Mars colony without the boring stuff. The boring stuff is how SpaceX landed two rocket boosters near simultaneously streamed in HD to the entire planet. You don’t see all the work that led up to it because it’s not flashy and exciting.
The first colony ship landing on Mars will be televised from orbit and the ground in 8K to Earth because of all that boring-to-normal-people work happening in tech labs and in orbit.