NASA Astronauts Recreate Iconic Ball Drop Tradition In Space With Their Own Twist

The astronauts, onboard the International Space Station (ISS), have recreated the iconic ball drop tradition in space to mark the start of 2021.

The astronauts, onboard the International Space Station (ISS), have recreated the iconic ball drop tradition to mark the start of 2021. The ball drop is a tradition performed annually on new year's eve at Times Square in New York, where a ball placed on a flagpole on top of the building starts descending at 11:59 pm and resets at 12:00 am to welcome the new year. However, due to COVID-19 and restrictions on large gatherings, the tradition will be performed without a crowd this year as people will only be allowed to view it virtually.

Meanwhile, the Expedition 64 crew members gave the ball drop tradition their own twist as they decided to recreate the ritual in space. Because there is no gravity in space and it is impossible to literally drop a ball, the astronauts took a globe and tossed it in the air to start the new year celebrations. The astronauts counted down from three before tossing up the ball. "How can you have a ball 'drop' when there is no up or down?" ISS wrote as it shared the video on Twitter.

First ball drop without crowd

The ball drop tradition had begun in 1907 and this year is the first time when crowds will be prohibited from gathering near the Times Square building. Earlier, during World War II, the ball drop was cancelled twice, but still, people gathered to pay their tributes to war heroes. The tradition was the brainchild of The New York Times publisher Adolph Ochs and the first ball was designed by Artkraft Strauss, who made it from wood and iron. The contemporary ball is made up of computerised LED lighting system that contains crystal panels.

As far as this year's celebrations are concerned, workers recently installed 200 new crystal penals on the ball, and on Wednesday the ball was given a final test run before the actual event. This year, only a limited number of frontline workers have been invited to watch the event live, while the rest will get to watch it on television and the internet.


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