The three astronauts living aboard the InternationalSpace Station beamed a snapshot of themselves floating in space withoutspacesuits Thursday in an out-of-this-world April Fool's Day prank on MissionControl.
In the fake spacewalk photo, the three astronauts arefloating outside the space station's largest window, waving hello while wearingnothing but t-shirts, slacks and sunglasses.
"You have a real problem, but you know it's outsideour capability to help you," astronaut Shannon Lucid radioed the stationcrew, laughing all the way.
The astronauts told Mission Control not to worry, though.They were indeed wearing sunscreen, eye protection (the sunglasses) and weresecurely tethered in the photo so they wouldn't drift away.
Also, it was all in good fun [howApril Fool's Day began].
"We wanted to welcome you guys to April, andhopefully we brought you guys some smiles and not a lot of nervousness,"station astronaut Timothy "T.J."? Creamer of NASA told MissionControl.
"You brought a lot of laughs, that's for sure,"Lucid replied.
The International Space Station is home to three astronautsfrom three different countries. In addition to Creamer, an American, theoutpost is staffed by Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi and Russian cosmonautOleg Kotov, who is commanding their Expedition 23 mission.
Spacejokes aside, the three station astronauts are about to get really busy,really fast.
A Russian Soyuz rocket is set to blastoff early Friday carrying three new members of the space station's crew.Those new additions, two Russians and one American, will arrive on Sunday, oneday before NASA's space shuttle Discovery is due to launch on its own missionto the space station.
If all goes well, Discovery will arrive at the station onApril 7, just days after the Soyuz, during a planned 13-day mission to deliver27,000 pounds of supplies, cargo, science experiments and other gear. Threespacewalks are planned.
- NASA's Most Memorable Missions
- When Did April Fool's Day Begin?
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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.