A new milestone was reached by the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday, May 16, when NASA announced the space station had now orbited our planet more than 100,000 times.
That’s about 4,254,046,900 kilometers (2.64 billion miles), which is equivalent to 28 times the Sun-Earth distance, 10 round trips to Mars, and almost the distance between Earth and Neptune.
The space station travels at about 8 kilometers per second (5 miles per second) and orbits our planet every 90 minutes. Because of this, the crews of six that constantly inhabit the station are treated to 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets every day.
Looking at the Milky Way from the International Space Station. NASA
In its 17 years of operation around Earth, this incredible sky laboratory has been visited by 222 people that have performed almost 2,000 different experiments. Research conducted on the ISS has lead to the publication of more than 1,200 peer-reviewed papers.
And when they’re not doing experiments, the crew uses the privileged position of the ISS to engage the public with amazing photos of our planet and beyond. Over 3 million photos have been taken so far, providing a unique and very human look at our planet from above.
The ISS is expected to be inhabited until at least 2024, although the mission could be extended beyond that date. So let’s wish the ISS thousands more orbits!