It's Lonely Up There
The two scientists aboard the International Space Station, US
astronaut Ed Lu (below) and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, have
had to curtail a lot of their scheduled activities, since the
Columbia breakup and the ensuing crew reduction.
The seven-man spacecraft, usually with three
aboard, has just these two men, rattling around inside. It must be
One can imagine the poor guys, just sitting up there, waiting
for the next Soyuz supply ship, wondering about what it would be
like, to feel gravity again, staring out the windows like your
puppy does, when you're late coming home from work...
"Hey, Yuri -- look over there! There's something out there,
floating around with us!"
"What, Ed? You're not seeing those little green men again, are
"No, Yuri. I really mean it. Look -- see that?"
"That little thing? Isn't that a tag, like we had on all those
"Well, I don't care, Yuri, what it is. Where'd I put that
After what passed for a flurry of activity, over a few days,
NASA said it thinks that Ed Lu's pictures are of an identification
tag, such as are used to get the right data cable in the right
place. It's probably been floating around, since some EVAs, months
ago; only now has its path again crossed the ISS's orbit.
Or, it's a sign of other intelligent life, perhaps from another
world, light years away, a planet of creatures who are