As many American families decide whether or not to gather for Thanksgiving amidst the coronavirus outbreak, the seven crew members currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS) can't help but live in close quarters. In a new video, five of the spacefarers living on the orbiting laboratory share how they would be spending the American holiday, as well as what packaged food they would be eating.
Cornbread dressing, curry rice and smoked turkey are on the menu for the holiday feast, the astronauts said in a video published Monday (Nov. 23) by the NASA Johnson Space Center's Twitter account.
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins makes the first appearance in the video. On Oct. 14, Rubins reached the ISS on a speedy three-hour Soyuz journey alongside Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov (neither of whom appears in the video.) In addition to celebrating Thanksgiving in orbit, Rubins recently took part in another American custom: she cast a vote in the 2020 presidential election (albeit, from space.)
The four astronauts who speak after Rubins in the video are NASA astronauts Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Mike Hopkins and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi.
The space crew explained how truly out-of-this-world their festivity will be. "We are zooming above the planet at 17,500 miles [28,164 kilometers] an hour, but we still get to have Thanksgiving up here," Rubins said. "Greetings from 250 miles [402 km] above the Earth," Hopkins added.
"This is the highest party room on Earth!" Noguchi said while holding a handful of food pouches. In addition to packages of curry rice and red bean rice, Noguchi held up a container of seafood and said it was prepared by a Japanese high school student.
Noguchi also acknowledged the hardships experienced worldwide this year, perhaps a nod to the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday (Nov. 24), there were 178,000 new cases in the United States and 584,319 new cases worldwide, according to the New York Times. "The year 2020 is a tough one. A year of perseverance and the year of resilience," Noguchi said.
The space crew said they will make calls to their loved ones back on Earth for the holiday.
"We're going to have a wonderful meal," Walker said before excitedly adding, "I think, it's very likely that we will have another American tradition and we will be streaming football to watch up here."
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