Tim Peake completes London Marathon from orbit
British astronaut TimPeake has successfully completed the London Marathon whilst orbiting400 km (248 miles) above the Earth aboard the International SpaceStation. Peake is only the second astronaut to complete a Marathon inspace, alongside NASA Astronaut Sunita Williams, who took part in theBoston Marathon from the ISS back in 2007.
Peake set out at 10:00GMT on Apr. 24 just as 33,000 participants began their run below. Theastronaut had previously completed the Marathon back in 1999,finishing with an impressive time of 3:18:50. In order to compete inthe marathon, Tim was strapped into the T2 Colbert Treadmill locatedin Node-3 of the station's Tranquility module.
The treadmill isdesigned in such a way as to operate without shaking the rest of thespace station, while providing enough downforce to the user so as toprovide an adequate facsimile of running on Earth.
Tim ran the marathon despite suffering from the detrimental effects of over 18 weeks worth of muscle andbone loss sustained due to the microgravity environment prevailing on the ISS.Having evolved under the nurturing force of Earth's gravity, ourbodies are ill-equipped to deal with the microgravity conditionsprevailing in low-Earth orbit. Astronauts suffer significant bone and muscle loss while in space, owing to the decreased gravitationalpressure of the space station environment.
Peake and other residentsaboard the station adhere to a strict exercise regime designed tocombat the wasting effects of microgravity. However, even with theseprecautions, astronauts engaged in a future long haul journey to Marsand back will be forced to contend with severe performancedegradation due to muscle and bone atrophy.
Originally, Tim hadplanned to complete the marathon by sticking to a steady pace of 7.5mph (12 km/h), but as the straps of the rig began to dig into the astronaut'sshoulders, he decided to up the rate, punishing his legs in the hopeof saving his shoulders.
All the while Peakewatched live coverage of the event, and observing the streets of London via the RunSocial app, thus adding asense of connection to the vast crowd of runners back on Earth.
In the end, Timfinished the 42-km (26-mile) marathon with an impressive time of3:35:21, well inside the 3:30 - 4:00 timeframe he had set for himself prior to the event.