NASA Astronauts Spend Christmas Day and New Year in Outer Space
The idea of spending Christmas and New Year in space may sound cool but the six NASA astronauts pay the price of celebrating it away from their loved ones. NASA's Expedition 34 astronauts are spending the holiday season aboard the International Space Station as they exchange gifts, dine and have fun with their own holiday activities while traveling around space.
Last week, NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield and Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko arrived at the International Space Station. The three additional astronauts join NASA astronaut Kevin Ford and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin in the holiday journey.
Though these astronauts are away from their families, NASA still offered them video conferences in order to keep in touch during the holidays and eventually avoid the feeling of homesickness. Astronaut Tom Mashburn, who has a 10-year-old daughter, is really grateful for the opportunity to still speak with her while exploring outer space.
"That'll be tough, thinking about her waking up in the morning, enjoying things. But the fact is we've got some technology that'll allow me, hopefully through an internet or I guess an internet protocol session, to be able to join in with them and see their faces and they can see me. It'll be a little tough for me, as it would be for anybody, but I think the price is certainly well worth it, to be up there," Mashburn stated in an interview with NASA prior the space flight.
For Russian cosmonaut Roman Romaneko, spending Christmas and New Year in space is exciting. "I think it will be a big adventure, a big moment in our space life. And we'll be dressing up, we'll be decorating the station, we'll put up a Christmas tree," Romaneko stated also in a NASA interview prior the space flight.
NASA's International Space Station is already a ninth inhabitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS offers a platform for its astronauts to perform a scientific research that cannot be accomplished from Earth.
The areas included in the scientific research are astrobiology, astronomy, space medicine, life sciences and physical sciences. Expedition 34 is a joint ISS program of five participating space agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Russian Federal Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency.
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