While everyone’s enjoying a quiet Thanksgiving Day dinner in the company of friends and family, the astronauts aboard the International Space Stations are hard at work, toiling in the name of science.
In the past years, ISS’s crew would drop everything during Thanksgiving Day, to enjoy a good meal, and to reminisce with colleagues. However, this year the astronauts have a lot of stuff to do, meaning that the Thanksgiving Day meal will have to wait a while longer.
At the moment, there are six astronauts aboard the International Space Station, but only two are Americans – Peggy Whitson and Shane Kimbrough.
While everybody’s busy stuffing their faces with turkey and other delicious Thanksgiving Day treats, Kimbrough will install a new type of centrifuge in the station’s Cell Biology Experiment Facility. In addition, her compatriot will work side-by-side with Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov to perform some ultrasound scans for a study called Fluid Shifts.
The purpose of this study is to observe the eyesight changes experienced by astronauts in space. As for the other astronauts, Oleg Novitskiy and Andrei Borisenko will spend the day unloading the shipment from Soyuz, and to replace a damaged control panel aboard the Russian Service Module.
As for Thomas Pesquet, their French colleague, he will spend the day reading children’s stories on camera. The French astronauts will also have to take some baseline measurements for the AquaMembrane project.
So, what happens when the day is over? According to Kimbrough and Whitson, once the astronauts finish their daily chores, they will reconvene on board the Russian Service Module, where they will share a Thanksgiving Day meal with their Russian and French colleagues.
According to Kimbrough, the evening’s menu is more than enticing: green beans, mouth-watering turkey, yams, cherry-and-blueberry cobbler, mashed potatoes and sweet tea. Although no Thanksgiving Day meal is complete without a glass a wine or beer, the astronauts will have to settle for sweet tea, as the astronauts are forbidden to consume alcohol aboard the International Space Station.
Kimbrough also said that after the meal is done, he’s going to relax and watch some American football. Thanksgiving Day might feel like any other holiday, but when you’re in outer space, you tend to value more the times spend with your friends and the meals you share with them, even if they come out of sealed bags.
Image source: Wikipedia
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