Hurtling back to earth at 17,000 miles per hour is hardly going to be a relaxing experience, as these Nasa images show.
The amazing photographs and gifs released by Nasa demonstrate the tricky – if incredible – procedure astronauts endure in the capsule returning to earth from the International Space Station (ISS).
In the gif shown below, the sparks seen are a result of the massive 3,000oF heat pressing against the surface of the Soyuz capsule due to friction with the earth’s atmosphere.
Shortly afterwards, four parachutes deploy and the capsule floats back to the surface at a (relatively speaking) slower speed of 500 miles per hour.
This video and gif captures Mike Hopkins' return in March of this year after being station on the ISS.
Astronauts also have to contend with headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting (EMS – Entry Motion Sickness) upon first landing.
These symptoms can then sometimes progress to Earth-Readaptation Syndrome, including bone and muscle weaknesses, reduced coordination, and an impaired neurovestibular system (which helps people orient their bodies).
Still, it’s probably worth it as these amazing images (all taken from the ISS) demonstrate.
Watch the full video below: