While everyone is gathered around the table for a traditional — and terrestrial — Thanksgiving dinner, three people in particular are celebrating “turkey day” in space. This year, a German, a Russian, and an American are spending Thanksgiving some 260 miles above our planet, aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
The trio is made up of NASA astronaut Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev, and German astronaut Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency — in other words, the crew of Expedition 57.
According to NASA, the three astronauts are all set for a Thanksgiving feast on the orbital outpost. They will be sharing a traditional holiday meal, including turkey, candied yams, stuffing, and spicy poundcake. As the space agency points out, the astronauts have put together their Thanksgiving meal “with fresh ingredients delivered over the weekend on a pair of new cargo ships.”
“Are you thawing out your turkey? The space station crew is preparing for Thanksgiving, too!” the Twitter account of the International Space Station posted yesterday.
However, unlike the people celebrating Thanksgiving back on Earth, the ISS crew doesn’t need to slave away in their “space kitchen” and whip up a holiday meal from scratch. According to Space, Thanksgiving meals sent up to the space station for the astronaut crew are delivered in ready-to-eat packets that are sealed and processed with heat, which prevents germs from traveling to space.
Astronauts -- they're just like us! They celebrate #Thanksgiving same as we do, just... in space. Sure, they may be floating over their makeshift table, and their meal may be in plastic pouches, but the spirit of the holiday is the same. More on the blog: https://t.co/VtSbrqqUbv pic.twitter.com/C6s4PHqVbT— National Air and Space Museum (@airandspace) November 22, 2018
While Aunon-Chancellor and Gerst — who helms the ISS as commander of Expedition 57 — are enjoying a break from their astronaut duties and have today off, Prokopyev’s schedule is no different from any other day on the orbiting laboratory. Nevertheless — although the cosmonaut will spend the day conducting Russian science experiments and performing maintenance on the ISS — Prokopyev will join the rest of the crew for a special Thanksgiving meal in orbit.
And, judging by a recent tweet from NASA, the astronauts’ Thanksgiving feast in space will be positively cosmic.
Join crew members @Astro_Alex and @AstroSerena as they get ready for #Thanksgiving aboard the @Space_Station with poundcake and candied yams. Watch: https://t.co/LVgKGc03rJ pic.twitter.com/WRkbIZIAqy— NASA (@NASA) November 22, 2018
In the video above — a short holiday message from space — Gerst and Aunon-Chancellor send their best wishes for Thanksgiving to everyone back on Earth, while also showing off their festive meal in packaged form.
“I’ve already had the honor several times in my life to spend a Thanksgiving together with an American, which always makes it an especially great experience,” Gerst said in the video.
Meanwhile, Aunon-Chancellor stressed that “Thanksgiving is a time to spend with those whom you love,” noting that the astronauts will be “calling our loved ones back on planet Earth” from space.
“From the crew of Expedition 57, from our home to yours, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.”
Happy Thanksgiving to all from the Inquisitr team!