We're a couple weeks into 2020, but there's one notable achievement from 2019 that we still want to talk about.
On December 28, 2019, American astronaut Christina Koch marked her 289th straight day in space. Why was that significant? Because it set the record for the longest continuous space flight by a female astronaut.
Congrats to @Astro_Christina! 🎊Today she has achieved a huge milestone: she now holds the record for the longest continuous stay in space by a woman. 👩🚀 Thanks for all of the science you have helped us conduct during your mission so far. 🔬 pic.twitter.com/6ok1dCOsP8
— ISS Research (@ISS_Research) December 28, 2019
The previous record was 288 days, held by fellow American Peggy Whitson. Since that record was only set in April 2017, there's reason to believe that Christina's record might not stand long either.
But that that doesn't mean she's not looking to add to her record.
Still in orbit
That's because Christina is still on the ISS as we write this. Only days ago — on January 9th — she celebrated 300 days in space. NASA even made this little tribute video!
In fact, thanks to some scheduling delays, she's not due to return home until some time in February 2020. That will push her total to at least 328 days. And that is starting to get close to the all-time record for an American astronaut — 340 straight days, set by Mark Kelly.
Both of those astronauts still have a way to go to catch up to Peggy Whitson's other record. At 665 days, 22 hours and 22 minutes, she has spent longer in space total, than any NASA astronaut, male or female. Will Christina break her mark as well?
The next wave
In both cases, human beings will be pushed to their absolute limits learning how to survive the effects of microgravity on the body. So while Christina Koch is currently the longest continuously space-bound woman in history, she hopes that it's only a matter of time before her mark is broken. As she told CNN, seeing her mark broken will mean that "we're continuing to push those boundaries" in space.
And isn't that everything that NASA is about?