It's hard to imagine life as an astronaut. Making daily scientific breakthroughs while you orbit the globe, witnessing Earth from the best seat in the house as you go – I think we can all agree it must be pretty incredible. There is, however, one downside to man's final frontier in that NASA doesn't invite man's best friend along for the ride. But as the saying goes, distance makes the heart grow fonder, and a recent video posted to Twitter by NASA Astronaut Christina Koch showing the heart-melting moment she sees her dog for the first time certainly backs the theory. (NB: Ready the tissues)
In a world of harsh realities where belugas don’t really want to play fetch and it turns out wombats probably aren’t herding animals to safety, it’s a joyous occasion when proof comes through that sometimes everything isn’t terrible. The story of Christina’s Koch's time in space is certainly cause for good feeling, having smashed many records both as an astronaut and a woman, so it seems only fitting that her journey should close on one of the most feel-good videos on the Internet.
Having clocked 328 days in space, Koch’s mission is officially the longest single spaceflight by any woman, and the second-longest of any US astronaut. During her time away from Earth, she took part in the first-ever all-female spacewalk, 3D printed biological tissue, grew leafy greens, and even found time to bake some cookies. Her string of amazing achievements ended just in time for International Day of Women and Girls in Science and saw her returning alongside European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov.
After just shy of a year in cramped conditions, exercising for around two hours a day to prevent muscle wastage and battling with the complexities of trying to eat in space, I think it’s safe to assume the record-breaking astronaut was excited to return to some of Earth’s home comforts. Her excitement it seems was matched by her dog, LBD (Little Brown Dog) who can be seen in the video going absolutely nuts upon the arrival of her long-absent owner. In the Tweet, Koch wrote, “Not sure who was more excited. Glad she remembers me after a year!"
NASA responded to the wholesome scene with an astronaut signing a heart symbol, while other users demanded more footage of astronauts being reunited with their dogs – an initiative that has our full support.