A very space Thanksgiving for 2020: Here's what astronauts will eat in space (video)

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.)

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NASA astronaut Victor Glover showcases some cornbread dressing on the International Space Station, part of the Expedition 64 crew's Thanksgiving dinner, in a video of the astronauts' holiday meal. (Image credit: NASA)

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. 

They arrived at the space station on Nov. 16, approximately 27 hours after the launch of the SpaceX and NASA mission, known as Crew-1

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. 

Sunlight reflects off the Atlantic Ocean in this image published by NASA Johnson Space Center on Nov. 23, 2020, just days before Thanksgiving. The image was taken from the International Space Station as it orbited Earth off the coast of the United States. (Image credit: NASA Johnson/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

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."

Follow Doris Elin Urrutia on Twitter @salazar_elin. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

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Doris Elin Urrutia
Contributing Writer

Doris is a science journalist and Space.com contributor. She received a B.A. in Sociology and Communications at Fordham University in New York City. Her first work was published in collaboration with London Mining Network, where her love of science writing was born. Her passion for astronomy started as a kid when she helped her sister build a model solar system in the Bronx. She got her first shot at astronomy writing as a Space.com editorial intern and continues to write about all things cosmic for the website. Doris has also written about microscopic plant life for Scientific American’s website and about whale calls for their print magazine. She has also written about ancient humans for Inverse, with stories ranging from how to recreate Pompeii’s cuisine to how to map the Polynesian expansion through genomics. She currently shares her home with two rabbits. Follow her on twitter at @salazar_elin.