As Americans around the world celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, there are four citizens enjoying the day in a slightly different way to everyone else. Because they’re in space.
Living and working aboard the International Space Station (ISS) means NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Thomas Marshburn have been spending the holiday in microgravity conditions, eating rehydrated food from containers and drinking recycled water while orbiting Earth at 17,500 mph.
NASA on Thursday posted a video (below) of the four American astronauts sharing their thoughts about what Thanksgiving means to them, and how they’re spending the day aboard the orbiting outpost.
Barron said they’re all going to enjoy an “awesome” meal together with French astronaut Matthias Maurer and Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov.
“Luckily it doesn’t take us long to cook food in space because most of it is just reheating,” Barron said.
Items on the astronauts’ menu include “roasted turkey,” which Chari insisted will “taste delicious when we add some water.”
#HappyThanksgiving! Five Exp 66 astronauts talk about spending the holiday in space and the food they will share on the station. pic.twitter.com/mDOvEk8Tk8
— International Space Station (@Space_Station) November 25, 2021
NASA also posted a video looking at the history of Thanksgiving in space. It reveals that the first off-Earth Thanksgiving took place aboard Skylab 3 in 1973 with NASA astronauts Gerald Carr, William Pogue, and Edward Gibson able to enjoy a stunning view of Earth during the special day.
The next space-based Thanksgiving took place aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis in 1985. Since then, with the construction of the ISS at the turn of the century, the holiday has been celebrated in space every year since 2000.
And in case you’re wondering when exactly Thanksgiving happens on the space station, here’s the answer: The satellite uses the Universal Time Clock (UTC), equivalent to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in London, for keeping time, so Thanksgiving officially started at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET) on Wednesday, November 24 (or midnight UTC/GMT), ending 24 hours later when most Americans back on terra firma will be dropping onto the couch with a belly full of food.