The space station is old. It leaks from time to time, requiring patches like the ones the astronauts installed last month. The toilet breaks. The batteries need to be replaced. It has to dodge micrometeorites — this year alone the station has had to maneuver three times to avoid getting hit. And sometimes it does get tagged, like the time in 2016 when a piece of space debris cracked a window.
But despite the inherent dangers of space, the airless void, the radiation, the bits of debris shooting around in orbit several times faster than a speeding bullet, astronauts have somehow managed to live aboard the outpost continuously for 20 years.
On Nov. 2, 2000, NASA astronaut Bill Shepard and his Russian counterparts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev became the first crew to live and work on the station for an extended period, starting a streak that continues today. This