For thousands of years, people looked up at the night sky looking at the stars, seeking guidance, dreaming. While centuries passed with humans using the night sky for navigation or to record the passage of time, it was only in the last century that we actually started reaching for those stars, and not metaphorically.
The first human in space, the first person on the Moon, the first person to orbit the Earth… the first big milestones in a tremendous journey for human spaceflight. And as humanity charts its course towards Mars, there are people orbiting the Earth as we speak, contributing to those plans of the future.
The International Space Station has been up in the low Earth orbit for over twenty years and has had 236 people from 18 countries (as of 14 March 2019) aboard. While all of them had scientific reasons to be there, they also took the chance to capture the breathtaking views that they witnessed. And luckily for us all, some of the astronauts shared some of their shots on their social media. So, if you’re one of the people whose heart is drawn towards the stars or you just like pretty sights, check out a different perspective and see what we look like from the sky’s point of view. Oh, and don’t forget to comment and vote for your favorites!
I still have trouble comprehending that this impossibly thin blue curve keeps everything alive beneath it. pic.twitter.com/WHU5UShpKR
— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid) October 8, 2014
— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid) August 16, 2014
The ISS started as a joint project and there are 5 organizations taking part in it: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). The first component of the ISS was launched in 1998 and only 2 years later, on 2 November 2000, the first long-term residents arrived at the station in low Earth orbit. The first expedition launched on October 31, 2000 and landed on March 21, 2001 with a crew of three: an American astronaut, William M. Shepherd, and two Russian cosmonauts, Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko. Expeditions refer to permanent ISS crews and exclude resupply missions and space tourists.
— Christina H Koch (@Astro_Christina) June 10, 2019
— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid) October 9, 2014
The current crew aboard the ISS is Expedition 60 commanded by Aleksey Ovchinin, who transferred from Expedition 59 together with American flight engineers, Nick Hague and Christina Koch. The remaining 3 members of the crew, Aleksandr Skvortsov, Luca Parmitano and Andrew Morgan, are scheduled to join them on the 20th of July, 2019. The expedition will last until October 2019 when Soyuz-MS-12 will undock from the station.
— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid) September 28, 2014
A pop-up book for space travelers. Clouds reaching so high I couldn’t believe it. pic.twitter.com/uP0HelHD0D
— Reid Wiseman (@astro_reid) August 5, 2014
The ISS is a microgravity and space environment research laboratory where the crews conduct various experiments in a number of fields (biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology, and others). The station is also used to test various flight components and systems required for missions to the Moon and Mars. One of the experiments conducted by the crew involved sending frozen mice embryos to the ISS to test the effects of radiation from the sun and cosmic sources. The embryos will then be sent back to Earth to be implanted into surrogate mothers where scientists would observe their lives and possible changes in their lifespan, cancer development, and gene mutations.
— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) April 1, 2017
Moonrise over the atmosphere. pic.twitter.com/4Cm7QXRbdU
— Christina H Koch (@Astro_Christina) April 16, 2019
The current record holder and the person who spent the most time in space (879 days) is RKA cosmonaut Gennady Padalka who was aboard Mir, a space station that was operated by the Soviet Union and later by Russia and was deorbited in 2001 and the ISS. The people who spent the longest time aboard the International Space Station are Mikhail Kornienko and Scott Kelly who went on a year-long mission in March 2015 and spent 340.4 days in total aboard the spacecraft. Kelly was also part of the Astronaut Twin Study, where one twin brother spent a year in space while the other spent the same amount of time on Earth. NASA compared the data and found several long-lasting changes, including those related to alterations in DNA and cognition.
— Nick Hague (@AstroHague) March 18, 2019
Ignoring our changing climate is just sticking fingers in our ears & yelling "La La La" while the problem grows. We have one, shared world. pic.twitter.com/GhwyhTeq5F
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) June 2, 2017
Large lightning strike on Earth lights up or solar panels. pic.twitter.com/y96NDbZEvB
— Kjell Lindgren (@astro_kjell) September 2, 2015
This holiday season, I find myself looking down at ‘home’ a lot. We really are all on this amazing, beautiful planet together – it truly is a small world. And when I watched the moon set over the horizon today, I once again found myself without words. pic.twitter.com/QKAgEZqwFW
— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) December 23, 2018
Moon lighting up the night sky… pic.twitter.com/6wXx8vYtRc
— Nick Hague (@AstroHague) July 8, 2019
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) May 16, 2019
The dawn of a new era in human spaceflight pic.twitter.com/BHsfg1zYLN
— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 3, 2019
Yes buddy, that’s your Mother Earth. Isn’t she beautiful? pic.twitter.com/qY6KDbAIwb
— Anne McClain (@AstroAnnimal) March 4, 2019
Moonlight has a dramatic effect on pictures of the Earth at night. I always loved that cool silver light. pic.twitter.com/F0Ei20r11h
— Mark T. Vande Hei (@Astro_Sabot) December 10, 2017