Endeavour's crew gather for a crew picture.
With the 4th and last spacewalk complete, what does the shuttle crew do now? The picture above gives one clue. They are assembled in the Japanese science module KIBO for a picture. Lots of photos get taken in the ISS. This is amazing technology, and the crew is on an exciting adventure. These pictures get placed in newsppapers, magazines, the internet, and books. The publicity efforts of the astronauts inspire kids and adults alike to pay more attention to science and technological developments going on in orbit overhead. It helps promote the goals of not only NASA, but also the National Science Foundation, corporation interests like Boeing, medical companies and technology companies. NAd more.
Today the astronauts are helping the current 3-man crew of the ISS to maintain the Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly, which is essential for keeping the life support system functional and making for living, breathing astronauts. Actually, this makes me chuckle, because as a flight director for the CMSEC simulator Magellan, I often cause the CO-2 scrubbers to malfunction to see how a crew responds to that emergency. Shades of Apollo 13.
The crew is also making a number of public appearances through the communications network, talking with reporters from television stations from Michigan and Ohio today.
And last but not least, there is still plenty of cargo to move from the shuttle to the ISS, and placing important garbage and items from the station into the shuttle for return to Earth. Not everything is burnt up in the atmosphere, some of it goes back to NASA for scientists to examine for scientific research.
All in a day's work for six guys who get TO FLY AROUND IN ZERO-G. Geesh. They look like it's so much fun!