Astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will watch the Olympics from space, says astronaut Rick Mastracchio, who spoke with Space.com from aboard the station.
According to Mastracchio, those aboard the mission will take the opportunity for some friendly competition between astronauts from different nations -- three of the six aboard the mission are Russian, two are American, and one is Japanese. Mastracchio says:
When you're up here for such a long time, even though we do have a variety of food, it starts to get a little bit old, so anytime you can get something a little bit different, it's definitely a treat... So, I'm sure the Russians have a lot of good food and there are a lot of things that we have that they enjoy also.
Space.com compiled a slideshow of space food in November, showing astronauts with lots of fruit, NASA-themed M&M's and a peanut butter popsicle -- but no wine -- which is actually kind of disappointing (except for the popsicle.) But we're still going to assume there's some dehydrated borscht up there somewhere.
According to Space.com, Mission Control can send some events to the station on a time delay, and possibly live over the weekend. The team on the ISS, which took the Olympic Torch with them to space before sending it back to Earth, also spoke with the U.S. Olympic bobsled team last week to discuss their space fitness regimen, according to Science Recorder:
In other Olympics space news, the lucky athletes who win gold during the competition will be given commemorative medals containing pieces of the Chelyabinsk meteorite that crashed into a Russian lake last year. The BBC reports:
A meteorite chip is being embedded in the center of each commemorative medal by specialists at a workshop in Zlatoust, in the Chelyabinsk region, Russian media report... The local news website Novyy Region says the medal-crafting technique dates back to 1815 and is very laborious. The special medals will have a protective nickel coating and will also be adorned with gold and silver.
Mastracchio says that the astronauts won't be competing themselves, because "we don't have much snow in here." He adds that "The kind of thing we do up here is more like gymnastics when we're floating around and spinning around, you feel like a gymnast must feel when they're doing those incredible feats." For the record, we would be very interested in a gymnastics-in-space Olympic event.