The three astronauts living aboard the International Space Station beamed a snapshot of themselves floating in space without spacesuits Thursday in an out-of-this-world April Fool's Day prank on Mission Control.
In the fake spacewalk photo, the three astronauts are floating outside the space station's largest window, waving hello while wearing nothing but t-shirts, slacks and sunglasses.
"You have a real problem, but you know it's outside our capability to help you," astronaut Shannon Lucid radioed the station crew, laughing all the way.
The astronauts told Mission Control not to worry, though. They were indeed wearing sunscreen, eye protection (the sunglasses) and were securely tethered in the photo so they wouldn't drift away.
Also, it was all in good fun [how April Fool's Day began].
"We wanted to welcome you guys to April, and hopefully we brought you guys some smiles and not a lot of nervousness," station astronaut Timothy "T.J."? Creamer of NASA told Mission Control.
"You brought a lot of laughs, that's for sure," Lucid replied.
The International Space Station is home to three astronauts from three different countries. In addition to Creamer, an American, the outpost is staffed by Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, who is commanding their Expedition 23 mission.
Space jokes aside, the three station astronauts are about to get really busy, really fast.
A Russian Soyuz rocket is set to blast off early Friday carrying three new members of the space station's crew. Those new additions, two Russians and one American, will arrive on Sunday, one day before NASA's space shuttle Discovery is due to launch on its own mission to the space station.
If all goes well, Discovery will arrive at the station on April 7, just days after the Soyuz, during a planned 13-day mission to deliver 27,000 pounds of supplies, cargo, science experiments and other gear. Three spacewalks are planned.
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