How the International Space Station Crew Celebrates the Holidays
Despite spending the holiday aboard the International Space Station, the crew is not devoid of the Christmas spirit. Astronauts aboard the ISS also spent the holidays in the most cheerful and out-of-this-world fashion.
The crew composed of astronauts from different nations shared a festive meal on Christmas Eve. NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, who is also the oldest female crew to reach space, sent a festive image of her inside the ISS wearing a Santa hat. However, the crew won't be in full holiday mode during the season because they also ushered in the festivities with spacesuit checks and eye studies. But NASA assured that during the Christmas weekend, the workload for the astronauts would be "light-duty."
Last December 20, NASA Johnson Space Center uploaded a video on Youtube where commander Shane Kimbrough, Peggy Whitson, and Thomas Pesquet shared their thoughts about spending the holidays in space. "I think being onboard the ISS gives us a slightly different perspective of Christmas. Obviously, friends and family are important to all of us, but besides funny hats, there is another important aspect of being inside the ISS and that's seeing the planet as a whole," astronaut Peggy Whitson said in the video. "This reinforces the fact that we should live as one people and strive for peace," Whitson added.
All six members of the international crew celebrated the holidays together with a festive meal! pic.twitter.com/bGI0XwyAxi— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) December 25, 2016
Whitson spent her second Christmas in space, while this is the first for the European Space Agency's astronaut, Thomas Pesquet. "I was born in a very big family, I have 25 cousins," Pesquet said in the same video. "This year, I won't be able to be there of course, but I'll think of them, I'll try to give them a call and catch us as much as I can and make the most out of this opportunity to look at the Earth," Pesquet added.
But unlike here on Earth, the astronauts will be facing a daunting task right after the festivities. On Jan. 6 and 13, there are scheduled space walks for Peggy Whitson and Thomas Pesquet. The spacewalk will be conducted change nickel-hydrogen batteries to lithium-ion according to a NASA blog post.
Aside from the video, the ISS crew also posted a photo of them with Christmas balls floating in the microgravity.