If you’re anything like most parents, changing various batteries around the house is both tedious and strangely fulfilling. It’s not like you enjoy making sure the batteries powering the scale or the smoke detector are new, and yet, once you’re done with those tasks you feel more like you’ve made you’re home complete. Now imagine you’re renting an Airbnb and a week before you have to leave, you have to go outside and change all the lightbulbs and every single battery. That’s basically what’s going on at the International Space Station.
Right now, as of 8:00 Eastern Time, astronauts Chris Cassidy and Robert Behnken will walk through space to upgrade the power system of the International Space Station. According to NASA:
“Cassidy and Behnken will replace aging nickel-hydrogen batteries with new lithium-ion batteries delivered to the station on a Japanese cargo ship in May. During this spacewalk, the last nickel-hydrogen battery will be removed from the truss and stowed.”
This spacewalk could last up to seven hours, so you can probably still check-in on Cassidy and Behnken during your lunch break. Here’s the live feed from NASA:
Of the two astronauts, Behnken will be returning to Earth on August 2 before SpaceX’s Endeavor comes and picks him up. Along with Doug Hurley, Bob Behnken was one of two dads who successfully launched aboard Falcon 9 rocket back on May 30, 2020. That joint mission between NASA; and using Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets, was a historic one: It was the first NASA launch from American soil since 2011.
As the rest of the world tries to get its act together, it’s nice to see that in space, parents like Bob Behnken are still changing some batteries. We salute you.