Enlarge / The International Space Station flies high. (credit: Kent Christian)

Good morning. It’s January 18, and today, we’re looking at the brightest object made by humans in the night sky.

I am speaking, of course, of the International Space Station—a facility that has now been flying in orbit for a quarter of a century thanks to the care of NASA, Roscosmos, the European Space Agency, and the Japanese and Canadian space agencies. Anyone who lives in the mid-latitudes or tropics on Earth can see the station from time to time.

I live in Houston, so the station is near and dear to my heart. Many of the astronauts who fly to the ISS train here, and most of them live here. One of my neighbors was one of the earliest station residents. Many hundreds, if not thousands, of people who live close to me work hard to keep the station soaring high and safe. Astronauts are up there doing basic research, understanding how microgravity ravages the human body, advancing commercial space, and much more.

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