The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest man made object to ever leave the earth and every now and then it passes directly over you. It orbits the Earth 13 times a day, 220 miles overhead, traveling 17,000 miles per hour. That is 10 times faster than a speeding bullet and 45 times higher than the highest jet liner.
The station was built on Earth but assembled in space. The first module was launched into orbit in 1998 and construction continued for the next two years. Finally, on November 2, 2000, the ISS received a certificate of occupancy and the first astronauts moved in. It has been continuously occupied ever since.
The space station is functions as a zero gravity scientific laboratory for teams of astronauts from the United States, Canada, the European Union, Japan and Russia. Because the American space shuttles are now retired, most astronauts hitch a ride up to the ISS on Russian built Soyez rockets. They stay for several months at a time. In 2016, astronaut Scott Kelly set a record, spending 340 continuous days in space. When it's time to return to the Earth, the astronauts enter the docked rocket capsule, separate from the ISS and drop to the ground. You might be wondering how they survive the landing? That's easy, the capsule has a parachute...actually several parachutes!
So, is the International Space Station easy to spot? YES! It will be one of the brightest things you can see in the dim early morning or late evening sky, and it will appear to move as fast as a distant jet plane. The only difference will be that it's eerily silent and there are no flashing lights. In fact, it doesn't even have visible lights. You may be asking, "If it doesn't have any lights, how can it be the brightest thing in the sky?" I'm glad you asked...
The International Space Station declares the glory of God, just like Psalm 19:1 tells us. Think about it. What did God create on the fourth day? Genesis chapter one tells us that He created the Sun, the Moon and the stars, and it's the Sun that you see when the ISS passes overhead. How? Well, the giant solar panels that power the ISS reflect sunlight that is just beyond your horizon, exactly like the moon does at night. Interestingly, it is for this reason that Genesis 1:16 calls the moon the "lesser light". So, while some may claim that the ISS declares man's glory, you know better. It is no doubt a technical marvel but just like the brilliant minds who built and maintain it, the ISS literally draws its power from and reflects the glory of God's creative and sustaining power!
Now, what if I had told you at the beginning of this page that the space station created itself? No scientists, physicists, laboratories or technology involved...it just created itself. That's crazy, right? Obviously, "something" can't come from nothing! Look at a house or building near you right now. Did it create itself? Of course not! How do you know...have you met the builder? Did you watch him build it? It doesn't matter. Clearly, a building is evidence of a builder--just like a painting is evidence of a painter and a space station is evidence of a lot of really smart people! These are crazy questions and yet there are people who say that you and I came from nothing and then evolved into something over billions of years! How can 'nothing' create something? The answer is, it can't. If a building is evidence of a builder and a painting is evidence of a painter and a space station is evidence of a lot of really smart people then aren't YOU also evidence of a creator? Listen, the human body is a technical marvel beyond comparison and even beyond our full comprehension. To say that it created itself and evolved over millions of years is as ridiculous as claiming that buildings, paintings and space stations created themselves! Genesis 1 says that everything was made by a creator. YOU were made by that CREATOR.
As you go about your day today, 220 miles below an international team of astronauts, remember that you are called to be a beacon of light, reflecting the glory of God because just as the psalmist proclaims, YOU are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14).
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork" - Psalm 19:1
"For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ." - 2 Corinthians 4:6
"The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining even brighter till the full light of day" - Proverbs 4:18
"The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples have seen His glory." - Psalm 97:6
"...the builder is worthy of more honor than the building." - Hebrews 3:3
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden" - Matthew 5:14
Click HERE for special bonus audio from ISS Astronaut BARRY WILMORE - "Life Aboard the Space Station"
Click HERE to receive an alert when the space station can be seen in your sky! This is an incredibly easy and exciting activity for families or groups, stargazers or anybody who just likes to look up at the night sky with wonder and amazement.
Watch a live feed
from the ISS!
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