Friday, December 26, 2014

Midwinter Festival celebrations on the Space Station

NASA astronaut Barry "Butch" Wilmore (left) floats with ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti (center) and NASA's Terry Virts (right) are decked out for Christmas 2014.

Credit: Sam Cristoforetti Twitter/ESA

Astronauts in space have decked the halls of the International Space Station in honour of the holiday season.

The international crew members on the station have hung stockings, pulled out the orbiting outpost's Christmas tree, and they generally seem to be getting into the Christmas spirit.

European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti even sent out a picture of her with NASA astronauts Terry Virts and Barry "Butch" Wilmore with their decorations on the station.

"It's beginning to look like Christmas on the International Space Station," NASA officials wrote on a blog about the holiday.

"The stockings are out, the tree is up and the station residents continue advanced space research to benefit life on Earth and in space."

Space Station Christmas decorationsPin It ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti decorates the International Space Station for Christmas 2014.

Credit: NASA

Although NASA astronauts usually get the day off for Christmas, they have still been taking part in a variety of experiments leading up to the holiday.

On Dec. 23, for example, the crewmembers participated in a neurology experiment to monitor how motor control, perception and other aspects of brain function change over time in space, according to NASA.

In addition to Wilmore, Virts and Cristoforetti, the station's cre includes Russian cosmonauts Elena Serova, Alexander Samokutyaev and Anton Shkaplerov.

People on Earth can also send holiday messages of cheer to astronauts in space this season. NASA has set up a special portal for Earthlings that want to send their greetings to Virts and Wilmore on the station.

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