We would tell grandkids just a few more sleeps until Christmas morning. We count the number of sleeps before our holidays. On the International Space Station, of the six crew flying around the globe 16 times a day, a Russian cosmonaut and American astronaut have seven more sleeps before they return March 1 to earth following one full year in space.
Flying at well over 12,000 mph, 250 miles above earth, the pair are from well over 440 men and women who have lived in the ISS these past 15 years. Cmdr Scott Kelly, who flew an earlier mission will have logged 500 days in weightlessness.
His twin, Mark , has also lived and worked aboard ISS with NASA comparing medical stats from both. They both performed a number of space walks. Up at 6 am to shower, exercise and eat breakfast, later lunch and then supper, five days a week are filled with science projects. After supper those aboard ISS have time to relax, check up on e-mails from home and then hit the sack by 10 pm. They have grown flowers and wheat and have studied making fires aboard ISS. Weekends involve house cleaning chores and less tests. More R and R is relaxing.
At present NASA is looking for more candidates to train and later fly ISS, as efforts are to reach Mars within next decade. At present volunteers have consented to stay in bed for 60 days….all part of reaching for the stars. In early 1900 the Wright brothers first flew a fixed winged plane a few hundred feet. Some 35 years ago NASA launched two space platforms that have finally left our galaxy and are now racing towards our neighbour, one of trillions of galaxies in the universe.
Man has landed and lived on the moon and now Mars sooner or later will be colonized…..and we have these brave pioneers of space to respect, praise and honour.
You can follow Scott Kelly’s tweets as he prepares for his plummet back to Earth: Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly)