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Soaring high above the Earth, the crew of the International Space Station beamed down season's greetings.
The public can return the extraterrestrial good will and [URL=http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/postcard]send greetings[/URL] to the crew.
The e-mailed greetings can be sent through Jan. 5, 2009. Last year, thousands of messages were sent to the Expedition 16 crew from throughout the world.
As the holidays pass aboard the International Space Station, the crew may make Christmas cookies, chocolate covered pecans and candied yams as they celebrate the season. Those items are available in the pantry for Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke and Flight Engineers Sandy Magnus and Yuri Lonchakov.
Magnus made it a point to request that red, green, yellow, blue and white icing be among her foods to be used to decorate an assortment of cinnamon, shortbread and butter cookies also carried aloft. The crew also has a variety of candies to continue the high-calorie traditions so common on Earth this time of year.
Along with the sweets, the crew's food may include smoked turkey, cornbread dressing and mashed potatoes. Fincke also has included asparagus, shrimp cocktail, dried blueberries, tropical fruit, wheat flat bread and brown rice.
Of course, since a refrigerator is only a very recent arrival aboard the station, the food items all must be prepared to keep at room temperature for long periods, so they are irradiated, freeze dried or otherwise preserved. But the view at the dining table from 220 miles up cannot be beat.
The crew also will have holiday gifts from family and friends to open, recently delivered to the station aboard a Russian cargo ship earlier this month.
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