Congrats to US astronaut Christina Koch for breaking the women's space mission record

Christina Koch has come back down to Earth after a record 328 days in space—the longest mission of any female astronaut in history.


Koch touched down on an icy steppe in Kazakhstan on February 6. She will now make her way to NASA headquarters in Houston, Texas, where she will undergo medical testing. Seeing how Koch's body fared in space for nearly 11 months will inform current plans for a manned mission to Mars. It has been proven that staying in a microgravity environment for long periods of time leads to bone and muscle loss, and researchers have been working on ways to mitigate those effects for long space missions.

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According to CNN, Koch spent much of her time in space conducting experiments. She also completed six space walks during her mission, including the first all-female space walk with fellow NASA astronaut Jessica Meir. (In case you missed it, that much-anticipated space walk had to be temporarily postponed due to not having the proper sized space suits for the two women. The walk was completed successfully in October 2019.)

The previous space mission record for a woman was 289 days, set by U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson in 2017.

Koch says there are some thing she will miss about being in space. "Sleep in space has been some of the most restful I've ever had—no hotspots, no tossing, no turning, never too hot or too cold," she said, according to CNN. "I just float in my body's natural position. How will I sleep when I return to Earth?"

It will take time to readjust to the weight of her own body and to objects dropping to the ground again. However, there are definitely things Koch is looking forward to experiencing again. Before ending her mission, she said:

"Oh, how I miss the wind on my face, the feeling of raindrops, sand on my feet, and the sound of the surf crashing on the Galveston beach. We take daily sensory inputs for granted until they are absent. The environmental inputs on the space station consist mostly of the constant hum of the ventilation system. It stirs the air, allowing the purification system to scrub and clean our atmosphere so it's breathable. While some places on the space station are as loud as a lawn mower, others are as quiet as the vacuum of space. I cannot wait to feel and hear Earth again."

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NASA shared a video of Christina emerging from her space capsule and getting her first glimpse of Earth from the ground in almost a year:

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Welcome home, Christina Koch! We salute you as a space trailblazer and an inspiring example for young female scientists everywhere.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

Biases, stereotypes, prejudices—these byproducts of the human brain's natural tendency to generalize and categorize have been a root cause of most of humanity's problems for, well, pretty much ever. None of us is immune to those tendencies, and since they can easily slip in unnoticed, we all have to be aware of where, when, and how they impact our own beliefs and actions.

It also helps when someone upends a stereotype by saying or doing something unexpected.

Fair or not, certain parts of the U.S. are associated with certain cultural assumptions, perhaps none more pinholed than the rural south. When we hear Appalachia, a certain stereotype probably pops up in our minds—probably white, probably not well educated, probably racist. Even if there is some basis to a stereotype, we must always remember that human beings can never be painted with such broad strokes.

Enter Tyler Childers, a rising country music star whose old-school country fiddling has endeared him to a broad audience, but his new album may have a different kind of reach. "Long Violent History" was released Friday, along with a video message to his white rural fans explaining the culminating track by the same name. Watch it here:

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The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

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The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

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Father Alek Schrenk is known as one of the "9 Priests You Need to Follow on Twitter." He proved his social media skills Sunday night after finding a creepy note on a parked car and weaving a lurid Twitter tale that kept his followers on the edge of their pews.

Father Schrenk was making his nightly walk of the church grounds to make sure everything was fine before retiring to the rectory, when he found a car parked by itself in front of the school.

Curious, he looked inside the car and saw a note that made his "blood run cold" attached to the steering wheel. "Look in trunk!" the note read. What made it extra creepy was that the two Os in "look" had smiley faces.

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