Orbiting the planet Earth, over and over, collecting data about outer space, microgravity, and their effects on the human body, is the International Space Station and its crew.
The International Space Station has reached a huge milestone Monday of this week: it has orbited the planet Earth over 100,000 times since its launch 17 years ago.
Of course, the International Space Station is much faster than you’d think. It actually orbits the planet once every 90 minutes because it travels a good 17,500 miles per hour (that’s 10 times faster than the average bullet leaving the barrel of a gun).
Over the course of its 100,000 orbit journey, NASA notes that the International Space Station has travelled more than 2,643,342,240 miles, which is about the same distance to Neptune from Earth.
It’s also the same as 10 trips back and forth between Earth and Mars, which is good to know because manned Mars trips are definitely in the future plans for NASA’s initiative team.
If you’re in the mood for even more statistics about this massive milestone, then you’ve come to the right place, because there are tons more. During the 100,000 orbits it made around the Earth, the International Space Station has been home to 1,922 science experiments, which have led to over 1,200 publications in scientific journals.
Throughout those 100,000 orbits around the Earth, there have been tons of different astronauts and cosmonauts from different countries on board; 222 of them to be exact.
There are expected to be many more miles traveled, as well as many more astronauts on board, as the International Space Station has an expected service life that should last until around 2024. It’s possible that this may be extended, but still undecided. Space agencies are more interested in setting up bases on other planets, such as Mars.