For every space buff in the world, there is a lot that has been discovered and a lot that still needs to be discovered. While NASA is to launch a rocket along the coast on Sunday, the International Space Station was visible to many on the coast tonight. To mix it up a little bit, I wanted to touch on some facts about the ISS. Listed below are a few fun facts about the ISS:
– Sixty-five miles per hour may be a pretty standard speed limit on highways here on Earth, but up in orbit, the ISS travels a whopping 5 miles-per-second. That means the station circles the entire planet once every 90 minutes.
– You may think your house or apartment is spacious, but it’s got nothing on the ISS. At about 357.6 feet (or 109 meters) long, the International Space Station gives astronauts plenty of room to stretch out.
– The ISS is probably one of the only places you can actually smell space. A former ISS astronaut has described how a “metallic-ionization-type smell” occurs in the area where the pressure between the station and other docking crafts is equalized.
– Currently, the ISS is the third brightest object in the night sky after the moon and Venus. Eagle-eyed stargazers can even spot it if they look closely enough—it looks like a fast-moving airplane. If you can’t find it, NASA has a service called Spot the Station that texts you when and where it will pass over your location. If you want the opposite view (though we’re pretty sure you won’t be able to spot yourself), there is a live video feed pointing towards Earth that runs when the crew is off-duty.
– Oxygen in the ISS comes from a process called “electrolysis,” which involves using an electrical current generated from the station’s solar panels to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen gas.
Pretty interesting, right? Here is the topper. Any astronauts that are on board the ISS, eat three square meals a day, but when they sit down for a meal, they don’t sit down at all. There are no chairs around the main eating area. Instead, the astronauts simply stabilize themselves and float. Diners have to be very slow and careful when bringing food to their mouths so it doesn’t accidentally float across the station. Also, they can’t just stroll over to the refrigerator and grab a snack—all the food is canned, dehydrated, or packaged so it doesn’t require refrigeration. Imagine your entire lunch floating right past the others, if you ever lost control of it!
While most people don’t pay attention to the sky, unless of course there is a storm brewing, the ISS is visible more often than we all realize. It is all about where you are located. Here are a few images that were taken during tonight’s fly over. All credit goes to AJ Ayers of course!
** All images are property of AJ Ayers, and should NOT be reproduced or used for any other reason, unless given permission**
To keep up to date with fly overs and launches, visit: https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/