Ax-3 astronaut snaps dizzying photo of ISS's jam-packed interior

legs lay toward the center from the bottom, surrounded on four sides by white walls with chaotic wiring everywhere. These are not how Geordi LaForge would like his jeffreys tubes to look.
European Space Agency project astronaut Marcus Wandt captured this photo of the International Space Station's jam-packed interior in January 2024, during the private Ax-3 mission to the orbiting lab. (Image credit: Marcus Wandt/ESA)

A new view from inside the International Space Station captures a dizzying number of experiments underway in orbit. 

European Space Agency (ESA) project astronaut Marcus Wandt recently shared a photo he took while floating in the microgravity environment of the orbiting lab's Destiny module. Destiny is the International Space Station's primary research laboratory and is therefore home to a wide range of experiments and studies. 

In the photo, which Wandt shared on X (formerly Twitter) on Jan. 25, the walls of the Destiny module are lined with various pieces of equipment and cords strung about to keep all of the tools tethered. Wandt's legs and feet can also be seen floating in the foreground of the photo due to the weightlessness astronauts experience inside the spacecraft.  

Related: International Space Station at 20: A photo tour

The Destiny module has 24 equipment racks, which support various studies related to health, safety and humans' quality of life. The space station offers researchers a unique opportunity to conduct experiments in the absence of gravity, thus allowing them to better understand humans and the world in which we live.

"An astronaut's perspective," Wandt wrote in the X post. "How does this photo make you feel: relaxed, stressed, giddy or wanting to rearrange everything?"

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Wandt launched to the space station on Jan. 18 as part of Axiom Space's Mission 3 (Ax-3). Joined by mission specialist Alper Gezeravcı ​​of Turkey, commander and former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría (who has dual U.S. and Spanish citizenship), and mission pilot and Italian Air Force Col. Walter Villadei, Ax-3 carries Axiom's first all-European crew

The four Ax-3 astronauts are living and working in orbit for up to two weeks. They are tasked with over 30 experiments spanning various fields in science and technology aimed at propelling advancements in human spaceflight and contributing to enhancing life on Earth

While some may see Wandt's photo and think the inside of the module appears a bit cluttered without the force of gravity to hold all of the equipment neatly in place, others may feel relaxed by the idea of floating weightless through space. However, despite the apparent disorganization, astronauts are trained to maintain a high standard of cleanliness, to ensure the safety and functionality of the space station. 

So, the question remains: How does this photo make you feel? 

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Samantha Mathewson
Contributing Writer

Samantha Mathewson joined Space.com as an intern in the summer of 2016. She received a B.A. in Journalism and Environmental Science at the University of New Haven, in Connecticut. Previously, her work has been published in Nature World News. When not writing or reading about science, Samantha enjoys traveling to new places and taking photos! You can follow her on Twitter @Sam_Ashley13. 

  • Homer10
    Yeah, a little stressed. What if as I'm floating through this tunnel of wires, I accidently pull something loose.
    Reply