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Best bits from returned astronaut’s space station mission

SpaceX’s Crew-4 astronauts returned safely to Earth on Friday after a six-month stint living and working aboard the International Space Station.

One of those astronauts was Samantha Cristoforetti. The Italian space traveler — on her second orbital mission — shared moments from the adventure with her more than one million Twitter followers and 780,000 TikTok fans, posting photos and videos showing life aboard the orbital outpost, along with plenty of stunning imagery of Earth 250 miles below.

Here’s a selection of Cristoforetti’s tweets posted during her half-year space mission.

First, a quick review of the trip up and the first few days in space:

Back on the International @Space_Station (and TikTok)

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) May 6, 2022

A breathtaking view of the moon:

The ethereal beauty of the Moon… the last sliver of the waning crescent rising above the colors of the imminent sunrise. #Moon #MissionMinerva

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) May 30, 2022

“Cycling” in space:

Happy #WorldBicycleDay from the International @Space_Station! #MissionMinerva #SpaceTok

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) June 3, 2022

Taking time out to replicate a moment from Gravity:

One of my biggest regrets from my year in space was watching #GravityMovie and having @AstroSamantha float by the screen after her working out and not being quick enough to the camera. Here’s the original photo fail. So disappointed then, but all is good now. Thank you, Samantha!

— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) June 19, 2022

“Moroccan culture is known for its impressive art and architecture,” says Cristoforetti. “No wonder that it looks like a real piece of EarthArt from space too!”

Moroccan culture is known for its impressive art and architecture. No wonder that it looks like a real piece of #EarthArt from space too! #MissionMinerva #Morocco #Maroc #AtlasMountains

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) July 8, 2022

Here’s how astronauts on the station capture all of those amazing Earth shots:

How to take pictures in #space! 📸 #worf #SpaceTok #MissionMinerva @esa @esaspaceflight

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) July 13, 2022

Getting ready for bed on the ISS:

Getting ready for bed! 😴 #BedtimeRoutine #SpaceToc #MissionMinerva @Space_Station @esa @esaspaceflight

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) July 15, 2022

Here’s an entertaining effort by the Crew-4 astronauts:

Formation flying into our 4 little crew quarters. We made it on the first try… well, maybe the second 😉
Volo in formazione fino ai nostri 4 piccoli alloggi. Riuscito al primo tentativo… beh, forse al secondo 😉#MissionMinerva #Exp67 @Space_Station @esa @esaspaceflight

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) July 16, 2022

Do astronauts take Vitamin D while staying on the ISS? Here’s the answer:

“Do you need to have #VitaminD supplements?” #AskMe #MissionMinerva #SpaceTok @esa @esaspaceflight

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) July 18, 2022

A time-lapse showing the space station’s solar arrays tracking the sun:

A soothing solar array waltz in this accelerated timelapse – arrays rotate on two axes to track the sun. And our #robotics teams on the ground have been busy installing the MISSE material science experiment – can you see the robotic arm moving? #MissionMinerva

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) August 9, 2022

Here we can see an impact crater on Earth that occurred some 300 million years ago:

We explore space, and sometimes space comes to us. This “visit” if from over 300 million years ago… the Gweni-Fada #meteorite impact crater in Chad – 14 km in diameter! #MissionMinerva

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) August 11, 2022

Aurora are a common sight for astronauts on the space station:

The Sun has been really active lately. Last week we saw the most stunning auroras I have ever experienced in over 300 days in space! #auroraaustralis #MissionMinerva

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) August 21, 2022

Prepping a meal in space:

Preparing lunch on the @Space_Station. Balanced meals, like this one, help me to stay healthy and maintain strong muscels and bones in space. #MissionMinerva #SpaceTok @iofbonehealth @esa

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) August 25, 2022

Stars from the ISS:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star… actually, on @Space_Station we gaze at the stars from above the atmosphere, so no, they don’t twinkle. Also, we don’t have to worry about clouds 😉 @esa

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) August 29, 2022

The amazing Andes, as seen from space:

A pass over the Andes just before sunset. Love the long shadows over the mountains! #MissionMinerva

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) August 28, 2022

Watching other astronauts come to space:

We had a spectacular view of the #Soyuz launch!
Sergey, Dmitry and Frank will come knocking on our door in just a couple of hours… looking forward to welcoming them to their new home! #MissionMinerva

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) September 21, 2022

A little science demonstration in microgravity conditions:

What do you think happens to the ping pong ball when I try to sink it in water? 🤔 Find out! #MissionMinerva #bouyancy #SpaceTok @esa @esaspaceflight @Space_Station

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) September 24, 2022

Yoga in space is tricky — but possible:

Yoga in weightlessness? Done!
It’s a bit tricky, but with the right poses (thanks @CosmicKidsYoga!) and some creative freedom you can do it. Take a look! #CosmicKids

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) September 27, 2022

Here’s how astronauts keep track of their weight while in space:

Can you 'weigh' yourself in weightlessness? ⚖️ Not with a regular scale. Take a look! #MissionMinerva #SpaceLife #SpaceTok @esa @esaspaceflight @Space_Station

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) October 1, 2022

“Oh, glamorous astronaut life!”

Oh, glamorous astronaut life! Working in the bowels of our toilet, installing a new pre-treat tank. I do love space plumbing! No worries, the toilet wasn’t broken, it was just a routine activity. Pre-treat is added to urine at every use for chemical stabilization. #MissionMinerva

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) October 4, 2022

Coral reefs as seen from space:

Coral reefs are an amazing sight from space, just as they are on Earth. They harbor a mindboggling diversity of marine life – some call them the ‘rainforests of the sea’. Sad to think that we are on track to losing most of the world’s coral reefs to global warming.#MissionMinerva

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) October 7, 2022

Here’s a fun video showing Cristoforetti replicating a scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey:

2022 A Space Odyssey. Turns out, yes, you can walk with Velcro shoes. Slowly, very very slowly 😉#ASpaceOdyssey #MissionMinerva @esa @esaspaceflight @Space_Station

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) October 8, 2022

Bacteria on the ISS could be harmful to human health. Here’s how crewmembers test for it:

There are no harmful bacteria and fungi on the @Space_Station. And if there ever were any, we would find them 😉 Take a look! #MissionMinerva #SpaceLife #SpaceTok @esa @esaspaceflight @Space_Station

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) October 9, 2022

How microgravity means that having a cup of coffee in space is a little different to back on terra firma:

Having a nice cup of coffee looks slightly different in space… 😉 Check it out! #MissionMinerva #CoffeeBreak #SpaceTok @esa @esaspaceflight @Space_Station

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) October 12, 2022

Cristoforetti and her three fellow Crew-4 colleagues flying through the space station:

It’s been an absolute pleasure to share this experience with my crewmates of Crew-4. What amazing human beings! #MissionMinerva @astro_kjell @astro_watkins @Astro_FarmerBob @NASA_Astronauts @esa @esaspaceflight @Space_Station

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) October 13, 2022

And finally, a beautiful time-lapse video shot over Europe:

One last time, fly along with me! Farewell and, as always, thanks for all the fish! #MissionMinerva @esa @esaspaceflight @ESA_EO @Space_Station

— Samantha Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) October 13, 2022

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Trevor Mogg
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