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Christmas in space! Astronauts celebrate a special cosmic holiday in orbit



Merry Christmas from the International Space Station! The crew of Expedition 58 today (December 25) beamed their merry Christmas wishes for the 50th anniversary of the first Christmas in space.

"During this time of vacation, I look back on 'home' a lot," NASA astronaut Anne McClain wrote on Twitter just before the holiday Sunday (December 23). She shared with the message an amazing view of the earth and the moon from space. "We're all really on this amazing, beautiful planet together – it's really a small world, and when I saw the moon over the horizon today, I found myself again without words."

During the Moon Mission of Apollo 8 On December 25, 1

968, NASA astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders completed their historic first flight around the moon and set off on their return journey to Earth. Anders photographed the iconic "Earthrise" photo that planet Earth was peering over the moon's horizon on this Christmas Eve.

Today another crew of three will be spending their holidays in space. McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko are currently living and working aboard the International Space Station. [Holidays in Space: An Astronaut Photo Album]

While McClain and Saint-Jacques can enjoy the day off, Kononenko today has "minimal tasks to fulfill," NASA spokesman Dan Huot said in an email with Space.com. "The only task on the program next to Christmas and Movement for Christmas is to have blood and saliva samples for human research studies," Huot said.

    

 Happy holidays from outer space! NASA astronaut Anne McClain (right) and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency search on board the International Space Station in a video for Christmas 2018 after the Elf on the shelf.

Happy holidays from outer space! NASA astronaut Anne McClain (right) and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency search the Elf on a shelf in a 2018 Christmas video clip aboard the International Space Station.

Credit: NASA

Traditional feast with smoked turkey, candied yams, corn, green beans, mac and cheese and potato gratin. For dessert, there are strawberries, puddings, butter biscuits and butter biscuits "with different colored icing sugar packets," said Huot.

These festivities arrived on December 8 in the SpaceX Dragon CRS-16 spacecraft. If the astronauts received Christmas gifts from their families on Earth, these items could have "flown in on the crew flight kits on CRS-16," Huot said. "This is always private for the crew members."

Although the crew did not disclose any Christmas gifts that may have been sent on the kite, they did bring some of their own holiday cheer when they boarded the space station on December 3. The Soyuz crew capsule was a one-on-one during the flight. " Elf on the Shelf ", who has been following the crew closely from various locations around the space station since then – telling Santa any naughty or nice behavior.

When the astronauts wake up from their sleep tomorrow (December 26), they will immediately return to work, Huot said. And while astronauts usually have a New Year's Day off, they'll have to go through the holidays this year. "As of now, January 1st is a full working day," Huot said, adding that the crew would load cargo into the Dragon CRS-16 spacecraft and conduct scientific operations. "Whenever the crew is asked to go on vacation, they will have an extra day off in the future to make up for it."

Kononenko is likely to have vacant for Eastern Orthodox Christmas on January 7th. The Russians open their Christmas gifts on December 31, and we have to wait a few more days to see if he has any treats from his family and friends on Earth.

Send an e-mail to Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her @ hannekescience . Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. Original article on Space.com


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