Space Station Sunday: Floating In A Most Peculiar Way

Good afternoon, space fans!  Welcome back to all the most awesome information from orbit.

Hallo, spaceboy!  Astronaut Tim Peake kept his cool during his debut spacewalk.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)



On Friday, NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and ESA astronaut Tim Peake conducted an extravehicular activity (a.k.a. a spacewalk) to replace a failed voltage regulator.  The mission was a success, restoring power to one of the station's eight channels.  However, after completion of this objective, any further space striding was called off, thanks to a rogue water bubble that was detected in Peake's space helmet.

Pictured: astronaut Peake and the inappropriately-damp space helmet.
Also, all of the rest of the water on Earth.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

Neither Peake nor any of the other ISS crew were in any immediate danger, and Peake and Kopra reentered the station with no trouble.  The water was extracted from the helmet using a syringe, and will be analyzed to detect how to prevent future helmet leakage.  The E.V.A., which took 4 hours and 43 minutes, was otherwise declared a success.  It was Peake's first spacewalk, and the third for Kopra.  Not only was this the first spacewalk of 2016, but it was the first in history for a British citizen.  Cheers!


No, this isn't some gnarly new sport called spaceboarding,
it's just astronaut Kopra doing his job.
(Image courtesy NASA.gov.)

In other news, the Veggie experiment aboard the station, which had originally grown a batch of "Outredgeous" red romaine lettuce entirely while in space, had recently been repurposed to grow zinnia flowers.  After a flooding of the roots left mold on some of the nascent flowers, astronaut Scott Kelly took over gardening duties.  By removing the mold-affected areas (and freezing them, for later study on Earth), sanitizing the seed beds, and upping the fan aeration of the chamber, the problem began to subside.  However, this left the zinnias somewhat dry, and in poor-looking condition.


Kelly tweeted, "Our plants aren't looking too good. Would be a problem on Mars.
I'm going to have to channel my inner {"The Martian" protagonist} Mark Watney."
AND HE DID.
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly.)
Kelly remedied this by moving up the watering schedule of the plants, judging by eye when they needed a bit more juice. He explained his process simply, stating, “You know, I think if we’re going to Mars, and we were growing stuff, we would be responsible for deciding when the stuff needed water. Kind of like in my backyard, I look at it and say ‘Oh, maybe I should water the grass today.’ I think this is how this should be handled.”

This week, Kelly's efforts proved correct, when in a "The Martian"-like turn of events, the zinnias blossomed.


Life found a way!  Next up: space raptors?
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly.)

However, despite the flowers' glorious growth, a particular absence of life was also felt on the station this week.  The sudden death of famed space-rock superstar David Bowie shook the world last Sunday, but his legacy gets to live on in one especially spectacular way:  his song "Space Oddity", the media's favorite soundtrack to the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, was performed in space by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield during Hadfield's ISS sojourn in 2013.  Does it get any more excellent than having your art elevated to its highest form IN SPACE?




Astronaut Scott Kelly offered his tribute to Bowie as well, capturing a lovely image of the blue planet Earth and posting it to facebook with the caption, "Sad to learn about the death of music legend David Bowie whose inspiration lives on "far above the world" #YearInSpace"




Kelly also continued his year-long photography project of "Earth Art", adding several lovely selections to his planetary portfolio...

"#EarthArt Color from a desert."
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly.)
"Andes Mountains. When you believe, you can move mountains. Or move over them."
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly.)

"Advice from a volcano: keep your inner fire burning."
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly.)


That's all for this week, space fans!  We'll see you next Sunday with all the best news from this orbital cruise.  Watch this space!


"Yes, there are other life forms in space!"
(Image courtesy Scott Kelly.)

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