Thanksgiving is such an important American holiday. It not only reminds us how much we have to be thankful for, but also to remind us of traditions and family and love. Wherever you are, Thanksgiving is a time to be connected to tradition. This Thanksgiving, astronauts aboard the International Space Station will spend the day working before chowing down on a space-friendly version of a traditional turkey dinner. Typically, NASA astronauts have taken off from work on Thanksgiving Day, but this year, they were not so lucky. There are six crewmembers currently on the ISS, only two of which are Americans. Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson are the American’s, but everyone at the station will come together to celebrate the holiday. "We're obviously going to be talking about what Thanksgiving means to us, what we're thankful for, and sharing the tradition with our French and Russian colleagues," Kimbrough said in a video.
Before dinner, Kimbrough will spend the day installing a new centrifuge in the Cell Biology Experiment Facility. Whitson will be working with cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov, operating an ultrasound to do baseline scans for the Fluid Shifts study, which will investigate the cause of changes in eyesight that astronauts often experience after spaceflight. The two other Russian cosmonauts, Andrei Borisenko and Oleg Novitskiy, will unload cargo from the Soyuz spacecraft that arrived Saturday,November 19 and replace a control panel in the Russian Service Module. French astronaut Thomas Pesquet will read a children's book aloud on camera for kids on Earth to watch as a part of a project called "Story Time from Space." Pesquet will also take measurements for the AquaMembrane investigation, which aims to create a more efficient water recycling system for the ISS. Needless to say it will be a busy day.
When everyone is finished with their work tasks, the six crewmembers will gather in the Zvezda Service Module to celebrate Thanksgiving the traditional American way. They will share what they are thankful for, before digging into a meal consisting of turkey, green beans, candied yams, mashed potatoes and more. "We're going to work all day, and then we're going to have an evening big dinner full of most of the things you're going to have at your table," Kimbrough said.
A Thanksgiving Day meal fit for an astronaut includes a NASA-packaged smoked turkey, cornbread dressing, strawberries, tea with sugar and as-flown cranberry sauce spread. Unlike a traditional Thanksgiving meal, everything the astronauts eat will come straight out of prepackaged pouches. Much of the food items are freeze-dried or dehydrated, so the crew will need to add water before eating it. Drinking alcohol is also forbidden on the ISS, so the astronauts will hold off on wine and mimosas and instead will have pouches of sweet tea. For dessert, they'll enjoy packets of cherry-and-blueberry cobbler.
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