See the best photos from the International Space Station this year

As we reach the end of the year, NASA has shared some of the best pictures from the International Space Station (ISS) showing the research and other work being done there.

Some of the most striking photos are of the astronauts growing and tending to crops of vegetables, using two main pieces of equipment. The Veggie experiment grows primarily leafy vegetables like pak choi, as seen in this photo of NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins with his crop of Extra Dwarf Pak Choi: NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins enjoys the aroma of Extra Dwarf Pak Choi growing aboard the space station. The other piece of equipment used on the ISS to grow food is the Advanced Plant Habitat, in which the astronauts grew chili peppers for the first time this year. This impressive feat was the longest plant experiment on the ISS so far, lasting for a total of 137 days. The chili peppers and the habitat they grow in can be seen here, being admired by NASA astronaut Kayla Barron: NASA astronaut Kayla Barron floats in front of the second crop of chilies in the Plant Habitat-04 experiment. Another big event on the ISS this year was the installation of new solar arrays to replace the aging solar arrays which currently provide power to the station, some of which are 20 years old. The new ISS roll-out solar arrays (iROSA) are smaller than the old arrays but provide more power, and the process of upgrading from the old arrays to the new ones was started with a series of spacewalks this year. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough carries the second ISS roll out solar array (iROSA) toward the space station’s Port-6 truss structure where he and fellow spacewalker Pesquet would install it. Another fun story from the ISS was the use of a Microsoft HoloLens headset to assist in the upgrading of the station’s Cold Atom Lab. NASA astronaut Megan McArthur used the headset to test whether augmented reality could be a useful way to assist astronauts in maintaining and upgrading station hardware. NASA astronaut and Expedition 65 Flight Engineer Megan McArthur wears the specialized Sidekick headset and tests using augmented reality aboard the International Space Station. Finally, a stunning image of the station itself was captured from a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule as the Crew-2 astronauts — NASA’s Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, the European Space Agency’s Thomas Pesquet, and Akihiko Hoshide from Japan’s space agency — departed the station in November: The International Space Station is pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during a fly-around of the orbiting lab that took place as Crew-2 left station on Nov. 8, 2021. For lots more photos from the ISS and information about what’s happened there this year, you can head to NASA’s website . Editors’ Recommendations

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