Sunita Williams gave a video tour of the International Space Station a few hours before her return to earth on November 18, 2012. I found it fascinating because her tour gives a great sense of the layout of the interior of the ISS and what it actually looks like. Also, in a weightless environment, the meaning of up and down have different definitions.
There were a couple of things that were especially interesting to me. When the crew uses the exercise bike, they don’t need a seat because they don’t sit down. They use clip-on pedals to hold them to the “bike.” The pedals look very similar to the Shimano road pedals that I use on my De Rosa. The exercise machines need to be isolated from the walls of the space station so they don’t put any forces into the structure of spacecraft and solar arrays.
When Commander Williams entered the Russian segment where Service Module Central Post of the space station is located, there was a nice assortment of Nikon photography equipment on both walls.
The YouTube description from NASA Goddard: “Launched on Feb. 11, 2010, the Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, is the most advanced spacecraft ever designed to study the sun. During its five-year mission, it will examine the sun’s atmosphere, magnetic field and also provide a better understanding of the role the sun plays in Earth’s atmospheric chemistry and climate. SDO provides images with resolution 8 times better than high-definition television and returns more than a terabyte of data each day.
On June 5 2012, SDO collected images of the rarest predictable solar event–the transit of Venus across the face of the sun. This event happens in pairs eight years apart that are separated from each other by 105 or 121 years. The last transit was in 2004 and the next will not happen until 2117.
The videos and images displayed here are constructed from several wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light and a portion of the visible spectrum. The red colored sun is the 304 angstrom ultraviolet, the golden colored sun is 171 angstrom, the magenta sun is 1700 angstrom, and the orange sun is filtered visible light. 304 and 171 show the atmosphere of the sun, which does not appear in the visible part of the spectrum.“