How to Watch Will Smith's Instagram Live with Drew Feustel on the ISS
The astronauts who make up the team behind Expedition 55 spend their days conducting experiments, going on spacewalks, and taking some incredible photographs. They don’t usually spend their time chatting with Hollywood stars, but on Thursday, that’s exactly what they’ll be doing. During the first-ever Instagram Live from the International Space Station, NASA astronaut and flight engineer Drew Feustel will have a “virtual” chat with none other than the star of three Men in Black movies, Will Smith.
This meeting is a part of events surrounding the release of One Strange Rock, a new National Geographic documentary series executive produced by Darren Aronofsky and Jane Root’s Nutopia. Smith and Feustel, according to a press statement, will be talking about “space, music, and more,” so here’s hoping we find out whether the ISS crew prefers “Miami” or “Switch.”
Wait, Instagram Works in Space?
Astronauts onboard the ISS got access to a live Internet connection in 2010 via personal web access that’s called Crew Support LAN. Before then, if they wanted to do something like use Twitter, they had to email what they wanted to ground support, and then someone there would put it up for them. According to NASA, this access “takes advantage of existing communication links to and from the station and gives astronauts the ability to browse and use the Web,” and “astronauts will be subject to the same computer use guidelines as government employees on Earth.”
But according to a 2015 tweet from astronaut Scott Kelly, the ISS has a slow internet connection that is “worse than what dial-up was like.” Since then, however, NASA has been making some upgrades: In March, Feustel was part of a spacewalk mission to expand external WiFi on the ISS to support ongoing on-station experiments. There’s development on the horizon by NASA of “high-speed space internet,” but that’s not ready yet, so it will be interesting to see how Smith’s Instagram Live connection holds up.
What Will They Talk About?
They’ll probably chat about the show, have some light banter about Independence Day, then get into the cool stuff that Feustel and his crew get up to. Right now on the ISS, there are six crew members from Russia, Japan, and the United States, and they’re nearing the end of their mission: Their joyride began in February 2018 and ends this month. They’ve been studying the effects of microgravity on bone marrow, the responses of Earth material to space environments, and the responses of biological samples to simulated gravity. One of their projects is devoted to studying sperm — specifically, frozen human and bull sperm — to find out how long-duration spaceflights will influence human reproduction.
Will Smith and Feustel talk about sperm? Who knows, but we hope so. If you want to see for yourself, watch National Geographic’s Instagram Live on Thursday from 11:45 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. Eastern.