Space Station Sunday: Some Downtime At 250 Miles Up

Good afternoon, space fans!  Welcome back to the week's news from outside the atmosphere.

Astronaut Scott Kelly said it best when posting this image this morning:
"Today is a new day with limitless possibilities to do great things.
Good morning from the International Space Station!"
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly /

This week, the two astronauts who conducted last week's spacewalk were allowed to rest a bit, while also preparing for the arrival of a new supply ship.  NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren, as well as JAXA astronaut Kimiya Yui, worked in the Quest airlock to organize and stow gear used on the successful maintenance spacewalk.  They also scrubbed the cooling loops in the spacesuits they used for the job.

Spot the spaceman!
It's important to have a well-cooled spacesuit and all your tools in order
before you next step out the door into the void.
(Image courtesy

The astronauts then prepared for the December 3rd arrival of the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft, which will ferry the Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System to the station.  This is a highly-pressurized supply of breathing gases critical to both the station residents and to the astronauts who must inhale pure oxygen before going on spacewalks (to avert "the bends.")

Yui and Lindgren each celebrated their 100th day in space, and contributed data on their current blood pressure levels and vision skills as a part of a long-running study that coincides with their space-stay.  They also respectively contributed work to a hardware study and the Veggie study (where nutritious food is grown in space for the astronauts.)

Lindgren, now a 2-time spacewalker in as many weeks, posted this image on Twitter,
explaining it was a favorite from his recent extravehicular activity.
(Image courtesy Kjell Lindgren (@Astro_Kjell) /

The Russian segment of the station was hard at work as well, with cosmonauts examining a number of experiments.  Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko worked on an experiment that deals with the electromagnetic effects of space on the station's hardware.  One-Year Crew member Mikhail Kornienko worked on an experiment analyzing human digestion in space.  He also examined different surfaces on the station, as well as the station atmosphere, to discern what, if any, strange microbes may exist there.  The Russians also gathered more data for an experiment regarding the maintenance and improvement of spacecraft piloting skills.

And, as part of his usual excellent photo-documentation from his year-long mission, astronaut Kelly captured Paris in a flyby, posting this image in tribute to those lost in this week's terrorist attacks.

The City of Lights.
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly /

If only those who would commit such crimes could see how beautiful Earth is from above, where human differences can't really be noted.

A reservoir in Iraq, observed by astronaut Lindgren.
(Image courtesy @Astro_Kjell /

That's all for this week, space fans!  We'll see you next this space!

This wasn't a physics experiment...astronaut Lindgren was paying tribute
to colleague Victor Hurst, a research scientist and astronaut trainer 
who passed away last month.  Hear the full story here.

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