ISS astronauts join in on World Cup celebrations with gravity-defying soccer [VIDEO]


World Cup from Space

World Cup Fever has reached out of this world proportions, as space travelers aboard the International Space Station support their favorite teams. Three World Cup stadiums can be seen in this image by Reid Wiseman.
(Photo : NASA/Reid Wiseman)

The World Cup competition has started, and fans all over the world are engrossed in exciting soccer action. This championship series is also being celebrated aboard the International Space Station (ISS) by the astronauts and cosmonauts orbiting our home planet.

The competition opened on 12 June, and will continue through 13 July. The event will be viewed on television and online by billions of fans. Some of those fans are traveling aboard the orbiting outpost. Both Germany and the United States have qualified for the competition.

“We want to wish all the teams and the fans on the ground a great World Cup. Have fun and a peaceful games. May the best win,” Alexander Gerst of Germany, and European Space Agency (ESA) spacefarer, said.

Space travelers are telling reporters they intend to spend as much free time as possible watching the games, telecast from Brazil. The games are building a feeling friendly competition among the space travelers. Reid Wiseman and Commander Steve Swanson are from the United States, while Gerst supports his native German team. The two countries face each other in a match on 26 June, to be played in Recife, Brazil.

This is only the second time Brazil has hosted the wildly-popular games. The first time was in 1950.

“Have fun, play hard, and we’ll be watching on the International Space Station,” Red Wiseman, flight engineer, told players from the orbiting outpost.

Swanson has been aboard the station for the longest time, arriving as part of Expedition 39/40 on 25 March. He will return to Earth this September. Wiseman and Gerst left the Earth for the station on 28 May, and will stay in orbit until November.

Wiseman took a dramatic picture showing three World Cup Stadiums in a single shot, as seen from the space station. The cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo shine brightly in the picture.

World Cup Fever has reached a pitch at NASA with a new graphic, showing the size of the International Space Station, compared to a regulation-sized soccer field. Laid on such a playing ground, the station would take up nearly the entire field. Weighing almost 925,000 pounds, the orbiting facility has more living space than a six-bedroom house. It contains a gymnasium, two bathrooms, and a bay window offering 360-degree views of space.

NASA created a video showing space travelers playing ball in microgravity, and offering well wishes from space travelers to the teams and fans of World Cup 2014.

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