It’s been a busy year for the International Space Station (ISS).
Orbiting about 250 miles above Earth, the ISS has welcomed new astronauts and bid farewell to others, conducted 12 spacewalks, hosted NASA’s first paying tourists, dodged hazardous debris, and experienced a serious leak from a docked spacecraft.
When they’re not gazing out at the gorgeous views during downtime, the orbital outpost’s inhabitants spend most of their time working on science experiments in microgravity conditions.
This week, with just a few days left of 2022, NASA shared a video showing images of some of the science research that’s taken place on the ISS over the last 12 months.
The photos include one of NASA astronaut Kayla Barron, who arrived at the station in November 2021 before returning home in May. She can be seen checking plants growing inside the station’s Veggie research facility for an experiment designed to improve water and nutrient delivery for plants cultivated in space. Looking further ahead, work like this will benefit long-duration crewed missions to Mars and beyond, enabling astronauts themselves to take care of some their food needs by growing it on their spacecraft.
There’s also an image of the FLUIDICS investigation that NASA says could help to improve satellite fuel systems while at the same time enhancing our understanding of how Earth’s oceans work.
Check out the image of a site in New Mexico, too, which features evidence of a decades-long eruption. Many of the Earth images were captured from the station’s Cupola, a seven-window module that offers stunning views of our planet.
“This past year, spacecraft carried crew from around the world to and from the space station, where they participated in and supported hundreds of scientific investigations and technology demonstrations,” NASA said in comments accompanying the video. “From deploying CubeSats to studying fluid dynamics in space, the orbiting lab expanded its legacy of science and discovery for the benefit of humanity.”