Astronauts have done over 200 spacewalks outside of the International Space Station, and the latest one offers some pretty stunning views of our planet.
NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik posted a video he took with a GoPro camera on his latest spacewalk, which occurred last month. In the video, after latching himself safely to the outside of the space station, he takes a moment to look at the Earth. The round ball is dotted with clouds floating over oceans and land, suspended over pure darkness. It’s a mesmerizing view and reminder of “the beauty of our planet Earth,” as Bresnik says.
Astronauts do spacewalks for a variety of reasons: to test equipment, make repairs, or attach science experiments to the outside of the ISS. They are grueling work. Astronauts train for it for a long time on Earth, by either using virtual reality or practicing in a 40-foot-deep pool that houses an underwater replica of the ISS.
Bresnik’s latest trip outside the space station was the third spacewalk meant to refurbish the orbiting lab’s main robotic appendage: the Canadian robotic arm, or Canadarm2. This is one of the most crucial instruments on the ISS, because it allows astronauts to grab incoming cargo and perform inspections on the outside of the station. (The arm is equipped with sensors and a camera.) NASA astronaut Joe Acaba also took part in the spacewalk, working for about seven hours to install a new camera on Canadarm2 and replace a fuse on another robotic arm called Dextre.
But lucky for us, the astronauts also like to pause to take a peek at the beautiful planet the ISS orbits around, at a speed of over 17,000 miles per hour. You can watch the video to decompress after the holiday week — or to prove any of your flat Earther friends wrong.