As the world gears up for the New Year, the International Space Station (ISS) is set to offer a unique perspective on the transition from 2023 to 2024, presenting astronauts with an extraordinary phenomenon—16 New Year countdowns within a single day.
The ISS, orbiting Earth at a rapid velocity, facilitates this distinctive experience due to its uninterrupted trajectory around our planet. Travelling at a staggering speed of 28,000 kilometers per hour, the space station completes a full orbit every 90 minutes, resulting in astronauts encountering an incredible 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets within a 24-hour cycle.
NASA highlights this phenomenon, stating, “In 24 hours, the space station makes 16 orbits of Earth, travelling through 16 sunrises and sunsets.” This rapid traversal of time zones during their journey enables astronauts to witness multiple day-night cycles, an occurrence they experience regularly on the ISS.
Unlike the conventional Earth pattern of 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness, astronauts navigate a unique schedule comprising 45 minutes of daylight followed by 45 minutes of darkness. This consistent cycle repeats 16 times daily, resulting in the astronauts observing a total of 16 sunrises and sunsets during their orbit around Earth.
These repeated transitions between day and night offer a distinctive environment for astronauts to conduct a wide array of experiments across fields such as microbiology and metallurgy. The unparalleled conditions on the ISS contribute significantly to scientific discoveries and deepen our understanding of the universe.
Despite adhering to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) for their routine, the constant oscillation between light and dark poses challenges for the crew in maintaining regular circadian rhythms. Yet, amidst these challenges, the astronauts are treated to breathtaking views of Earth’s horizons and the extraordinary experience of celebrating New Year’s Eve a remarkable 16 times.
The ISS journey not only grants astronauts a different perspective on time but also provides invaluable insights and discoveries that enrich humanity’s scientific knowledge and expand our perception of the universe.
Sources By Agencies