Astronauts in space beam holiday wishes to Earth for Christmas (video) (Image Credit: Space.com)
Astronauts on the International Space Station are sending holiday cheer to Earth with a festive video just in time for Christmas.
Clad in red and green Santa hats, NASA astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara joined the station’s Expedition 70 commander Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency and Satoshi Furukawa of Japan to share what it’s like to spend the holidays off Earth.
“For me personally, the holidays have evolved in a very beautiful way over time,” said Moghbeli, who celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, and brought a felt menorah to the station for the holidays. “As I met my husband, we’d celebrate different holidays growing up. So we’ve brought those two cultures and our holiday traditions together and shared them with each other and with our two little girls, and that’s been something really special for us.”
“And it’s just a reminder of the connection of all humans,” she added. “Different cultures and traditions and how beautiful it is when we bring those together.”
For O’Hara, who like Moghbeli is on her first spaceflight, celebrating the holidays in space is something quite new.
“For me, the holidays are always a time to get together with family. This will actually be the first holiday season that I don’t get to spend with my family,” she said. “But I’m super excited to spend it on board with our space family up here.”
Moghbeli, O’Hara, Mogensen and Furukawa recorded their holiday message inside the Kibo laboratory, built by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, with a string of flags overhead to represent the many controls involved in the International Space Station (ISS) program.
“The ISS represents the best of all of us as individuals, and in our countries and in humanity,” O’Hara said. “It’s beautiful to look down on Earth and have that perspective that we get to have up here. I know it inspires all of us, and I hope it inspires all of you on Earth as well.”
Satoshi shared some thoughts in Japanese in the video and sent early New Year’s wishes to Earth.
“During New Year Holiday in Japan, it is common that whole family gets together,” he said. “People visit the shrine and pray for New Year’s happiness from the International Space Station. I wish all of you endless happiness and smiles.”
Mogensen, an ESA astronaut from Denmark, share his own Christmas wishes in Danish before one final send off.
“From all of us onboard the International Space Station, we wish you happy holidays and a Happy New Year,” he said.
The International Space Station is currently home to seven astronauts working on a six-month mission in orbit. Russian cosmonauts Konstantin Borisov, Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub are also on the crew, but did not appear in the holiday video.
Mogensen, Moghbeli and Furukawa arrived at the station in August 2023 along with Borisov on SpaceX’s Crew-7 flight as part of its Expedition 69 crew and stayed on for the currently Expedition 70 increment. O’Hara arrived a month later in September, with cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, on a Soyuz spacecraft.