The most recent mission to send astronauts up to the international space station has failed. The Russian Soyuz TMA-04M vehicle, which was scheduled to launch several astronauts into orbit in order to relieve the Federation scientists currently aboard the ISS, had problems during a test a month or so before its scheduled liftoff.
However the stranded crew will only have to wait a few extra weeks until relief arrives. It’s almost funny really, to use the word “stranded” when talking about astronauts having to spend extra time on board the space station orbiting Earth. I’d give an arm, a leg, both kidneys, and ten years of my life for the privilege of being stranded aboard the ISS! It never ceases to amaze me that we actually have a space station in orbit, with people on it right now as I’m typing this.
Sure, they have to deal with what’s left over from their space iced cream and MREs sucked out of them by a vacuum. Sure, they have to spend half of their time awake working out to keep their bones and muscles from atrophying in zero-gravity. Sure, they won’t get to see their loved ones for longer than they expected. Sure, when one of them passes wind it’s an affront of intergalactic proportions. The thing is I’m guessing there’s not a single person aboard the ISS who’s complaining. But just in case, here’s my list of activities to pass the horrible, monotonous, tedious time these poor astronauts will have to suffer through:
1.They can waste away the day looking down at THIS!
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Ok, my list was short, primarily because I can’t think of anything more entertaining than number one.

An interesting aside to all this is that the incident involving the Russian crew vehicle highlights the need for a dynamic privatized space program. Ever since the US government defunded NASA to the point where it is little more than an engineering firm, or think tank, the need for private companies to fill this barren industry has become so much more evident. I thought, and still think it was a good decision to reduce NASA, as it was becoming far too costly to have NASA do all the work alone. Letting private companies compete with new designs, new technologies, and provide potentially huge job growth, could jump start not only a space tourism industry, but fill the need for cheap, reusable crew and equipment vehicles as space exploration takes the next giant leap. With plans from the Russian space program to build either orbital or permanent bases around or on the moon, and with the continued interest in traveling to Mars, newer, cheaper, and cleverer technologies are sorely needed.

In any event, I’m going to keep those poor stranded astronauts in my thoughts, and I’ll honor their sacrifice by watching…THIS!

Image Source: [Boston.com] [Nationalgeographic.com]