Super Bowl 50 did not only energize humans on Earth, it was also watched by International Space Station (ISS) astronauts live in space. On Sunday, ISS crew members had day off to watch the Super Bowl, take pics of the stadium, and even throw a party at which nobody showed up.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is a huge Houston Texans fan and was allowed to watch a game of his favorite team on Thanksgiving Day with one of his fellow astronauts. On Sunday, however, the entire crew was off duty and able to watch football. Still, ISS crew members declined to tell what their favorite team was.
Before the big game, Dan Huot of NASA said that ISS astronauts would be able to watch the game live via a video streaming channel managed by Mission Control Houston. On Sunday, everyone had a day off.
So, they were excused from performing any research or experiments on the orbital laboratory on a single condition: they still had to perform their daily exercise routine. Exercise in microgravity is essential for astronauts to prevent their muscles and organs from losing their functions.
Huot also highlighted some similarities between the ISS and Super Bowl. For instance, the orbital laboratory’s outstretched arms are as long and wide as a football field. Furthermore, NASA funded the research that developed the football helmet foam that shields players’ heads from shocks.
After Sunday, ISS crew will get back to normal business. Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko, a Russian cosmonaut, have one more month ahead before their yearlong stay in space is over. Both Kelly and Kornienko docked the space laboratory on March 28, 2015. Kelly is currently the American with the longest uninterrupted stay in space.
NASA and Russian space agency Roscosmos are eager to learn more about how the human body adapts to long stays in space, i.e. in zero gravity. NASA needs the data to prepare its manned mission to Mars.
When Kelly will be back home, the effect of microgravity on his body will be studied by comparing his medical data with his twin brother Mark Kelly’s, who has been on Earth during the yearlong mission.
On Sunday, at about 250 miles above Earth, Kelly took a picture of the Levi’s Stadium when the space station whizzed at 17,500 miles per hour over California. Next, Kelly posted the pic on Twitter where he has posted other exclusive images from space since his mission began.
Image Source: Twitter