Latest from Low Earth Orbit

Since I’ve previously used this blog to write about my admiration for astronauts (links), I thought I’d provide an update on some of the people currently inhabiting the International Space Station. First and foremost, a big shout-out to Iowa-born Peggy Whitson, the current ISS commander who has spent more time in space than any other American, male or female. Most of that time (500+ days and counting) was spent inside the space station, but a surprisingly large chunk was also spent on the outside, where she has accrued more than 53 hours on eight separate spacewalks. Whitson is an American hero and an all-round badass, so I’ll forgive the fact that she almost never tweets cool pictures from space, despite my publicly stated position that all astronauts should use social media. Lucky for me, the French astronaut Thomas Pesquet is also aboard the space station, and he frequently tweets cool pictures from space, including places you wouldn’t be allowed to see on Earth, like Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and a nuclear submarine base in France. I know this because he very helpfully tweets in both French and English (merci). You can scroll through his photos and videos here. Whitson and Pesquet have been aboard the ISS for the past 170 days, and they were recently joined by Colorado-born Jack Fischer. Though he’s only been in space for 17 days, Fischer has started sharing photos and videos and appears to be finding his sea legs (or is it space legs?). As best I can tell, the other two people aboard the ISS at the moment, Russians Oleg Novitskiy and Fyodor Yurchikhin, do not use social media. Until next time…