Astronauts in Space Concerned for Haiti Earthquake Victims
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) sent a heartfelt message Tuesday for the victims of last week?s devastating earthquake in Haiti.
Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi beamed the message to Earth for posting on his Twitter page, which he is using to send updates about his long-duration flight on the space station.
?We, ISS crew, would like to express our condolences to the earthquake victims in Haiti,? Noguchi wrote in his message. The astronaut, who writes as @Astro_Soichi, represents the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
Haiti was struck by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12 that caused widespread damage to its capitol city of Port-au-Prince. A strong, 6.1-magnitude aftershock hit the battered island nation earlier today.
NASA and other space agencies and satellite operators have trained their Earth-observing satellites on the region to map the hardest-hit areas in order to aid recovery efforts.
Noguchi is one of five astronauts currently living aboard the International Space Station as it flies 220 miles (354 km) above Earth. In addition to the Japanese spaceflyer, the station is home to two Americans and two Russians.?
Noguchi also took time to remember the victims of a massive earthquake that struck Japan 15 years ago this week. On Jan. 17, 1995, a 6.9-magnitude quake struck the Kobe area of Japan, killing more than 5,500 people and injuring more than 36,000, according to the United States Geological Survey.
?It has been 15 years since the big earthquake hit Kansai and Awaji area,? Noguchi said. ?We would like to express our condolences to the earthquake victims.?
Noguchi and his crewmates likely first heard the news of the Haiti earthquake last week during their daily news update, NASA officials told SPACE.com. The astronauts regularly receive digital versions of the Houston Chronicle newspaper, as well as other updates on their chosen subjects, they added.
The space station crew is in the middle of a busy time aboard the orbiting laboratory. Last week, the astronauts moved a massive spare parts shelf from one end of the station to the other and performed a spacewalk.
On Thursday, they will move a Soyuz spacecraft to a newly opened docking port on the station?s roof. The crew also plans to move a cone-shaped piece of the space station to a new berth later this week.
In early February, NASA?s space shuttle Endeavour is due to arrive at the space station with a six-astronaut crew to deliver a new module and observation portal to the orbiting laboratory.
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