Space Station Sunday: New Plants, New Plans, And Fresh Space Snaps

Good afternoon, space fans!  Here's what was floating around this week.

Eight months up there, and still these guys are safe and hard at work.
Well done, cosmonaut Kornienko (left) and astronaut Kelly!
(Image courtesy

On Monday, the ISS crew held a moment of silence for the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris.  Scott Kelly posted a photo of the City of Lights from space, in solidarity with the French citizens.

(Image courtesy Scott Kelly /

NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren planted zinnia seeds in the Veggie experiment, which successfully provided the astronauts with fresh space-grown lettuce not long ago.  The Veggie experiment is tremendously important research that could someday aid in long-duration travel to places such as Mars.  In this particular instance, it's just adding some color to the station with the zinnias, but a crop of space-grown tomatoes is set to follow.

Students on arth were able to join in the intrigue of the ISS, using a special remotely-controlled camera, the Sally Ride EarthKAM, to shoot images of Earth, from Earth...basically, the biggest selfies ever.  A large variety of images from the EarthKAM are available in their gallery.

(Image courtesy the Sally Ride EarthKAM.)

Astronaut Scott Kelly was awarded Scientist of the Year by R&D magazine.  Now eight months into his year-long space mission, Kelly is still operating in top shape.  In a thank-you video upon accepting the award, Kelly stated, "I've learned that human potential is limitless, and we should never stop pushing the boundaries of exploration."  He also recognized "all of the great scientists who came before me to make life in space possible."  Here's to more research and development aboard the ISS!

This week's station science included Kelly banking more blood and urine samples for the Twins study, in which he and his land-locked twin brother Mark are being studied for discrepancies in their physiology that make have been incurred by Kelly's year-long space sojourn.  Another interesting experiment included the continuance of a telerobotics study, where a joystick operated in space acts similarly to one "slaved" to it on Earth.

In the Russian segment, the cosmonauts conducted studies on atmospheric chemical reactions, digestion in space, and the psychology behind interpersonal relationships with mission control and each other (because when you're living and working in a tin can with 5 other people, it's important that you get along.)

Let's face it, the ISS is the prime location for a buddy comedy.
(Image courtesy

And soon, there'll be some new faces for the spacemen to befriend! The crew members of the upcoming Expedition 46/47 (Timothy Kopra of NASA, Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos and Timothy Peake of the European Space Agency) conducted final qualification training in Star City, Russia on Thursday and Friday. They are slated to launch for the ISS on December 15th, and they will remain in orbit for six months.

Finally, the exceptionally-cheerful Kelly posted some great space-based "dawn" photos this week, including one with the caption, "Today is a new day with limitless possibilities to do great things. Good morning from the International Space Station!" Well, we guess it must be easier to be a morning person when you have the practice of sixteen sunrises a day!
See you next this space!

First step:  get out of pajamas.  Second step:  space?
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly/

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