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NASA Spacewalk Sparks Joy in Marie Kondo as Astronauts Declutter Space Station

NASA literally took Marie Kondo's "tidying" concept out of this world — and the decluttering guru herself is paying attention.

Kondo, who is famous for asking people only to keep those things that "spark joy", apparently served as an inspiration for a recent cleanup on the International Space Station of unneeded equipment.

"Did this debris shield spark joy? Sometimes you need to let go of what no longer serves you!," NASA said in an Instagram post Thursday (opens in new tab) (Nov. 21).  

Related: Astronauts Perform Spacewalk Surgery to Repair Cosmic Ray Detector (opens in new tab)

Kondo herself replied to the out-of-this world tidying spree. 

"I haven't tried outer space, but am up to the challenge," she said in an Instagram reply. (You can follow Kondo on Instagram here (opens in new tab).) 

There's no word yet on whether the bestselling author and Netflix star, whose net worth is in the millions, will purchase a space tourism ticket to try the idea out for herself.

NASA spacewalkers tidying up the space station sparked this joyful message from famed clutter cleanup specialist Marie Kondo on Instagram. (Image credit: NASA/Instagram)

NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano, an astronaut from the European Space Agency, needed to remove this debris shield during a Nov. 15 spacewalk to repair an ailing dark matter probe, called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS). 

"It was too big to take inside, so the best option was to jettison it behind @iss, where it will disintegrate in the upper atmosphere," NASA added on Instagram (opens in new tab), showing a video of Morgan gently pushing away the debris shield on Nov. 15 before taking a picture. Behind the shield is the Earth in full sunlight, and you can also see a portion of the Canadarm2 robotic arm anchoring Morgan in place during his garbage removal duty.

Fixing AMS is such a big job that astronaut teams will need five spacewalks to finish the work, according to current NASA estimates  — the latest was on Friday (Nov. 22).

This series of extra-vehicular activities is the most difficult NASA undertook since 2009, the agency has said, referring to another spacewalk series servicing the Hubble Space Telescope for the last time that year. Unlike Hubble, AMS wasn't even designed to be repaired by spacewalkers, requiring NASA to come up with special tools and procedures for an in-orbit fixup.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.