NASA Shares Best Space Station Science Pictures from 2021

The International Space Station (ISS) has been hopping with science experiments this year. Thanks to companies like SpaceX and Northrop Grumman, NASA’s been able to send everything from problem-solving slime molds to tardigrades and squid to the space station for study. Now, in a new compilation, NASA offers up images from some of the most memorable scientific endeavors aboard the ISS from 2021. And they’re getting us hyped for 2022.

NASA’s Johnson Space Center recently posted the above compilation to its YouTube channel. “It has been a busy year of research aboard the International Space Station,” the agency notes in the video’s description. The space center notes that astronauts have performed 13 spacewalks, installed new solar panels, and upgraded the station’s power supply. As well as performed literally hundreds of scientific experiments.

A look at a science experiment aboard the International Space Station that seeks to culture heart cells in microgravity.
NASA Johnson

The images in the compilation show just a handful of the most exciting science experiments conducted aboard the ISS this year. Toward the beginning of the compilation is a close-up look at how astronauts have been culturing living heart cells, for example. We also get a glimpse of NASA astronaut Victor Glover conducting experiments for Rodent Research-10; an investigation into how spaceflight in microgravity affects the cellular and molecular mechanisms of normal bone tissue regeneration in space.

An astronaut studying a plant experiment aboard the International Space Station, offering one glimpse into many 2021 experiments aboard the ISS.
NASA Johnson

All of the experiments in the compilation are exciting, but the ones centering around the upcoming Artemis missions to the Moon really help to loose the imagination. Astronauts are working to see how well they can harvest plants such as chiles and lettuce, for example. Which is cool because the only time we’d actually order a salad would be on the Moon. The astronauts even managed to pull off the first-ever “plant transplant” in space.

An image of an International Space Station solar panel silhouetted by the Sun in front of Earth.

For anybody who needs to catch up on other ISS news before the year closes out, there’s been a ton. From surreal spacewalks to the “Space Olympics,” astronauts aboard the ISS have been showing us what life away from Earth feels like. Now, all we can say is we want to go into space more than ever. Although waiting for some kind of space-pizza delivery service first may be in order. (We promise to do very serious science experiments with the cheese.)

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