‘One Strange Rock’ Finale Airs Tonight, Shows NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson Come Home From Space

Willy SanjuanAP Images

Fans of National Geographic Channel’s One Strange Rock documentary series won’t want to miss the grand finale airing tonight at 10 p.m. EDT/PDT (9 p.m. CDT).

Tonight’s episode, titled “There’s No Place Like Home,” features amazing footage from space, as well as a few surprises that will surely keep you glued to the screen.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, the series’ May 28 finale will feature an exclusive 3D virtual reality film, the first one ever to be shot in space.

The short movie, filmed on board the International Space Station (ISS) by European Space Agency’s astronaut Paolo Nespoli, is a major treat in itself and showcases never-before-seen footage that allows the viewers to experience how it feels to float along inside the space station.

But the big thrill that Nespoli’s space-made film has to offer is the emotional homecoming of NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, Space.com reports.

The 4-minute VR film, shot under the careful Skype-enabled guidance of the series’ director, award-winning filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, depicts Whitson’s last day in space as well as her heartfelt goodbye to the orbiting lab that she has called home for longer than any other American astronaut.

According to Space.com, the one-of-a-kind VR set to debut tonight on One Strange Rock captures Whitson — imaged above (upper row, second from the right) at the One Strange Rock panel on January 13 in California — as she weightlessly zips around the ISS and gazes out the space station’s iconic Cupola window. The series’ finale later reveals footage from the astronaut’s 2017 homecoming.

Whitson returned to Earth last fall, on September 2, together with fellow NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin. The trio boarded a Soyuz MS-04 spacecraft, seen in the One Strange Rock finale as it re-enters our planet “with a fiery, high-speed plunge,” notes Space.com.

Throughout her astronaut career, Whitson has spent a total of 665 days in space. The experienced astronaut is a trailblazer and a multiple record breaker, and has served on board the ISS during three long-duration missions, states NASA.

Whitson has lived in space for longer than any other NASA astronaut, a record which she broke on April 24, 2017, after clocking in a cumulative 534 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes on board the ISS. The occasion marked the record for most cumulative days in space both by a U.S. astronaut and by a woman of any nationality, Space.com reported last year.

Peggy Whitson comes home to Earth from the International Space Station.
NASA astronaut Peggy Annette Whitson smiles after the Soyuz MS-04 capsule that brought her back to Earth landed in a remote area in Kazakhstan on September 3, 2017.Featured image credit: Sergei IlnitskyAP Images

The NASA astronaut also holds the record for most spacewalks by a woman and longest spacewalk time accumulated by a female astronaut. Whitson has racked up 10 spacewalks, with a total of 60 hours and 21 minutes.

At the same time, she is the first woman to assume command of the space station, which she did during Expedition 16 in 2008. In 2017, during Expedition 51, she took the reins of the ISS for her second time, breaking yet another record for female astronauts. Last but not least, Whitson also holds the record for oldest female astronaut, which she broke last year at the age of 57-years-old.

After her long stay in space, Whitson talks about coming home in the One Strange Rock finale.

The astronaut also told Space.com how her notion of “home” evolved through the years — from initially describing the farm in Beaconsville, Iowa, where she grew up in — and eventually grew to encompass the entire planet.

“I think once I left the planet, home was planet Earth. So, I think it’s all about perspective.”

In the One Strange Rock May 28 finale, which touches on the very special environmental conditions that make Earth the ideal planet for the human body to live and thrive on, the seasoned astronaut discloses what she loves most about living in space.

“I love being in space. That zero-gravity part is really nice. Gravity sucks,” she told Space.com.