Olympics fans, space buffs and just about anyone who likes interesting events will likely want to watch the Olympic torch return to Earth tonight. At around 9:49 pm EST, the torch will return from its trip to the International Space Station and touchdown in Kazakhstan.
The torch took flight last week aboard the Russian Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft, on a mission to deliver three new inhabitants to the station; NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata.
During its time in space, the torch was taken on a spacewalk as part of the relay for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, to be held in Sochi, Russia, from February 7 to 23.
Along with returning the torch, three other space station temporary residents – Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin – will come back to Earth, after spending some five-and-a-half months living in space.
Viewers can expect to see some warm and fuzzy moments as the returning crew will reunite with their loved ones.
NASA TV will broadcast a few different web casts today on Space.com, including the Soyuz undocking from the space station at 6 pm EST. The landing web cast will begin at 8:30 EST.
As per Olympic tradition, the Olympic torch is making its rounds. During its 123-day tour, the iconic symbol has visited St. Petersburg, the Kalingrad region, the Arctic Circle, Murmansk, and Red Square, among other noteworthy stops.
Some of the torch's famous Russian chaperones have included actress Tatyana Arntgolts, sports commentator Yury Gusev, and athlete Sergey Rozhkov.
Image via Wikimedia Commons