December 25th is upon us and that the day will be packed with gift openings, good food, and family time for millions of people here on Earth. Believe it or not, things aren’t all that different for astronauts floating some 250 miles above our planet on the International Space Station, and NASA has taken the opportunity to explain how some of the world’s bravest scientists are spending their long weekend in orbit.
Just like their counterparts here on Earth, NASA astronauts aboard the ISS will get the day off to relax and reflect on 2017 and anticipate the year ahead. When the most recent cargo mission dropped off its wares at the ISS, a whole bunch of gifts came along for the ride, and both NASA’s ISS crew and Russian cosmonauts aboard the floating laboratory will be opening surprises sent from their families and friends back home.
Today, the astronauts are going to put their important science work aside for a bit while they chat with their families back on Earth, and they’ll get to do it in the light of their very own Christmas tree. As Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov revealed earlier this month, a new Christmas tree was headed to the ISS to replace the one currently on board. Both trees are artificial, of course, because if you thought the needles shed by the pine tree in living room were annoying, imagine that same scenario in zero gravity.
As is customary, the ISS inhabitants will likely be enjoying a special Christmas meal to mark the occasion. NASA hasn’t revealed exactly what the crew will be gobbling on, but past dinners matched up well with what you’d find at a typical Christmas gathering here on solid ground, including turkey and of course cookies.
The current crew of the vessel also took some time to share some of their favorite Christmas memories with science fans, and recorded a video NASA shared via Twitter for the world to enjoy.
Flight Engineers @AstroAcaba and @Astro_Sabot have been in space for three months already but they’re about to experience something for the first time: Christmas on the International Space Station. pic.twitter.com/pOKXmBUzog
— International Space Station (@Space_Station) December 20, 2017