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The International Space Station: Expedition 34

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Back in November, the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) began Expedition 34, and entered into the 13th year of its continuous human habitation. Some of the research goals for Expedition 34 included investigations into the human cardiovascular system in microgravity, the gravity-sensing systems of fish, and the impact of changes in the sun's electromagnetic radiation on Earth's climate. The crew of six astronauts from the United States, Russia, and Canada also took hundreds of photographs of life aboard the ISS and the spectacular views from orbit. Collected here are scenes from Expedition 34, and a few from the current mission, Expedition 35. [40 photos]

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A photograph taken by a member of Expedition 34, aboard the International Space Station, looking down on the Bahamas from orbit, on January 13, 2013 (NASA)
A photograph taken by a member of Expedition 34, aboard the International Space Station, looking down on the Bahamas from orbit, on January 13, 2013 (NASA)
The Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft departs from the International Space Station and heads toward a landing in a remote area outside the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, on November 19, 2012 (Kazakhstan time). NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, Expedition 33 commander; Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, Soyuz commander and flight engineer; and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide, flight engineer, returned from four months onboard the space station where they served as members of the Expedition 32 and 33 crews. (NASA) #
The Soyuz TMA-05M (descent module) begins to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere on November 19 (local time, November 18, 2012 U.S. time) leaving a plasma trail as the Expedition 33 crew streaked toward a pre-dawn landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan. (NASA) #
Recovery vehicles surround the Soyuz TMA-05M spacecraft seen shortly after a successful landing with the ISS crew of Japanese astronaut Aki Hoshide, Russian cosmonaut Yury Malenchenko and U.S. astronaut Sunita Williams near the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, on November 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Sergei Remezov) #
A specialist sits next to inflated space suits prepared for the ISS prime and back-up crew members during a training at Baikonur Cosmodrome, on December 7, 2012. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko and U.S. astronaut Thomas Marshburn were scheduled to fly to the International Space Station on December 19. (Reuters/Sergei Remezov) #
NASA astronaut Kevin Ford, Expedition 34 commander, exercises using the advanced Resistive Exercise Device (aRED) in the Tranquility node of the International Space Station, on December 5, 2012. (NASA) #
A nighttime view of Liege, Belgium, photographed by an Expedition 34 crew member on December 8, 2012. The brightly lit core of the Liege urban area appears to lie at the center of a network of roadways extending outwards into the rural, and relatively dark, Belgium countryside. For a sense of scale the distance from left to right is approximately 70 kilometers. The image was taken using the European Space Agency's Nodding mechanism, also known as the NightPod. NightPod is an electro-mechanical mount system designed to compensate digital cameras for the motion of the space station relative to Earth. The primary mission goal was to take high-resolution, long exposure digital imagery of Earth from the station's Cupola, particularly cities at night. (NASA) #
Ile Saint-Paul, a remote volcanic island in the southern Indian Ocean, part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, photographed from the ISS on November 30, 2012. (NASA) #
A Soyuz rocket is rolled out to the launch pad by train at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on December 17, 2012. Launch of the Soyuz rocket sent Expedition 34/35 Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn of NASA, Soyuz Commander Roman Romanenko and Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) on a five-month mission aboard the International Space Station. (Carla Cioffi/NASA via Getty Images) #
Expedition 34 NASA Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), top, NASA Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn and Soyuz Commander Roman Romanenko wave farewell from the bottom of the Soyuz rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, on December 19, 2012. (NASA/Carla Cioffi) #
A Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft carrying the ISS crew of Thomas Marshburn, Roman Romanenko and Chris Hadfield, blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, on December 19, 2012. (Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov) #
As the ISS and Soyuz TMA-07M spacecraft were making their relative approaches on December 21, one of the Expedition 34 crew members on the orbital outpost captured this photo of the Soyuz (upper left) and a gibbous moon (lower right). (NASA) #
Newly arrived Expedition 34 Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn uses the Body Mass Measurement Device in the Zvezda service module aboard the ISS, on December 23, 2012. (NASA) #
Typhoon Bopha moves toward the Philippines, observed from the ISS, on December 2, 2012. (AP Photo/NASA) #
Stockings, hung with care on Christmas Day, 2012 aboard the ISS. The individual names of the six Expedition 34 crew members are inscribed on their respective stockings. The scene is actually in Node 1, called Unity, which was the first U.S.-built element that was launched, and it connects the U.S. and Russian segments of the orbital outpost. (NASA) #
Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield strums his guitar in the ISS's Cupola on December 25, 2012. Hadfield, a long-time member of an astronaut band called Max Q, later joined with the other five Expedition 34 crew members in a more spacious location to provide an assortment of Christmas carols for the public. (NASA) #
Cloud formations above the Kerguelen Islands in the southern Indian Ocean, photographed from the ISS, on December 4, 2012 (NASA) #
Robonaut 2, in the ISS's Destiny laboratory, during a round of testing for the first humanoid robot in space, on January 2, 2013. Ground teams put Robonaut through its paces as they remotely commanded it to operate valves on a task board. Robonaut is a testbed for exploring new robotic capabilities in space, and its form and dexterity allow it to use the same tools and control panels as its human counterparts do aboard the station. (NASA) #
One of the Expedition 34 crew members aboard the ISS, flying approximately 240 miles above Earth, exposed this vertical night image of the Bay Area of California, including parts of San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, on January 28, 2013. (NASA) #
NASA astronaut Kevin Ford, Expedition 34 commander, watches a water bubble float freely between him and the camera, showing his image refracted, in the Unity node of the ISS, on January 30, 2013. (Reuters/NASA) #
This January 8, 2013 photo provided by NASA, taken by Astronaut Chris Hadfield from the ISS, shows a view of the wildfire near Burrinjuck Dam in Australia. Look closely and you can see the flames from orbit. (AP Photo/NASA, Chris Hadfield) #
Amid a tangle of equipment and wires, NASA astronaut Kevin Ford, Expedition 34 commander, installs an Ultra-Sonic Background Noise Test (UBNT) sensor kit behind a rack in the Destiny module of the ISS, on January 16, 2013. (NASA) #
The coastline of the northeastern U.S., observed from the ISS on February 14, 2013. The Atlantic Ocean, including Cape Cod Bay and Buzzards Bay along the coastlines of the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island has a burnished, mirror-like appearance in this image. This is due to sunlight reflected off the water surface back towards the astronaut-photographer. The peak reflection point is towards the right side of the image, lending the waters of Long Island Sound (at image center, to the north of Long Island) and the upper Massachusetts coastline an even brighter appearance. Sunglint also illuminates surface waters of Chesapeake Bay (top center) located over 400 km to the southwest of the tip of Long Island. The high viewing angle from the ISS also allows the Earth's curvature, or limb, to be seen, and blue atmospheric layers gradually fade into the darkness of space across the top part of the image. (NASA) #
Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield uses a camera to photograph the Earth from a window in the Cupola of the ISS, on January 7, 2013. (NASA) #
One of the Expedition 34 crew members captured this night panorama featuring a display of Northern Lights, and scattered lights in the more highly populated areas in the state of Colorado and possibly the states north of it, on February 10. 2013. (NASA) #
An unpiloted ISS Progress resupply vehicle approaches the ISS, carrying 1,764 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen and air, 926 pounds of water and 3,000 pounds of spare parts, experiment hardware and logistics equipment -- 2.9 tons of supplies in all -- for the Expedition 34 crew members. Progress 50 docked to the station's Pirs docking compartment on February 11, 2013. (NASA) #
One of the Expedition 34 crew members took advantage of clear skies over Indianapolis, Indiana on February 25, 2013, and captured this image of the capital city from a point some 240 miles above Earth. (NASA) #
Expedition 34 Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn inside the ISS's Cupola, on March 3, 2013. (NASA) #
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon capsule, lifts off from the Cape Canveral Air Force Station on a second resupply mission to the International Space Station in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on March 1, 2013. (Reuters/Scott Audette) #
The hands of Expedition 34 Commander Kevin Ford, opening a bag revealing a highly welcomed shipment of fruit which was sent up from Earth a couple of days earlier and which arrived at the International Space Station on March 3, 2013. It was just a very small portion of all the fresh supplies which arrived aboard the unmanned Space X Dragon spacecraft. (NASA) #
A gyre frozen into the ice, in Newfoundland, Canada is pictured in this photo by Col. Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency, from the ISS, on March 22, 2013. (Reuters/CSA/Col. Chris Hadfield) #
A Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft lies on its side, on March 16 after bringing home Expedition 34 Commander Kevin Ford of NASA, Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskiy and Flight Engineer Evgeny Tarelkin to a landing northeast of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan. The Soyuz initially landed upright before being tilted on its side for servicing after touching down to wrap up 144 days in space and 142 days for Ford, Novitskiy and Tarelkin at the ISS. The three crewmembers were flown by helicopter to Kustanai, Kazakhstan en route to their homes in Houston and Star City, Russia. (NASA/Sergey Vigovskiy) #
The release the SpaceX Dragon-2 spacecraft from the International Space Station on March 26, 2013. The spacecraft, filled with experiments and old supplies, is in the grasp of the Space Station Remote Manipulator System's robot arm or CanadArm2 after it was undocked from the orbital outpost. Forming the backdrop for this image is western Namibia. The Dragon was scheduled to make a landing in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of California later in the day. (NASA) #
The Dragon capsule uses parachutes to descend to the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico's Baja Peninsula after leaving the ISS, on March 26, 2013. The vehicle brought back more than 1 ton of science experiments and old station equipment. It's the only supply ship capable of two-way delivery. NASA is paying SpaceX more than $1 billion for a dozen resupply missions. (AP Photo/SpaceX) #
Journalists take photos through a safety glass of members of the next mission to the ISS, from left: U.S. astronaut Christopher Cassidy, Russian cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin, and members of the back crew: U.S. astronaut Michael Hopkins, and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy during a news conference in Russian leased Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on March 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) #
Russian specialist assemble Russian Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft for the launch of the next expedition to the ISS in the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome, on March 22, 2013. (-/AFP/Getty Images) #
A crew member of the next expedition to the ISS, US astronaut Christopher Cassidy checks his space suit prior to the launch of the the Soyuz TMA-08M spacecraft at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, on March 28, 2013. (Ramil Sitdikov/AFP/Getty Images) #
A Soyuz-FG rocket booster with the Soyuz TMA-08M space ship carrying a new crew to the ISS, blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, on March 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) #
Looking down on Kazakhstan, one of the Expedition 35 crew members aboard the ISS took this photo of the launch of the "other half" of the Expedition 35 crew, on March 28, 2013. (NASA) #
The view from the Soyuz capsule as it approached the ISS, on March 28, 2013. Chris Cassidy of the United States and Russians Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin traveled six hours in the capsule before linking up with the space station's Russian Rassvet research module over the Pacific Ocean, just off Peru. It was the first time a space crew has taken such a direct route to the orbiting lab. Cassidy, Vinogradov and Misurkin are the first crew to reach the station after only four orbits instead of the standard 50-hour flight to reach the station. (AP Photo/NASA) #

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