The space station as photographed by the shuttle Endeavour
The space station as photographed by the shuttle Endeavour NASA; Getty Images

Join Us for a Conversation Between TIME and the Space Station

Jul 08, 2014

Everything about the International Space Station (ISS) is built to wow. It's almost exactly the size of a football field, has as much habitable space as a six-bedroom house, orbits 230 miles overhead, required 115 space flights to build and carries a solar panel array with a surface area of one acre. The offices of TIME magazine—located on the slightly less glamorous Avenue of the Americas and 51st St. in New York City, and with about as much habitable space as, um, an office— can hardly compete. But on July 9, the two worlds will briefly collide, as TIME chats via video downlink with the ISS.

There are currently six crewmen aboard the station, and we'll be talking to three of them: commander Steve Swanson and flight engineer Reid Wiseman, both of NASA, as well as flight engineer Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency. Like all space station crews, this one has been tending both to matters celestial (conducting biomedical, engineering and materials science experiments, as well as maintaining the station itself) and matters terrestrial, most recently their eye-in-the-sky observations of Hurricane Arthur.

Other matters down on Earth concern the crew too. It may have been fun and games when Gerst's native Germany bested the U.S. in the first round of the World Cup, but the dust-up between Russia and the U.S. over Ukraine is awfully hard to ignore when the other three members of the crew are Russian cosmonauts. TIME will be chatting with the crew about these and other matters—and would like to hear your suggestions.

Consider what you'd like to ask three men in a million-pound machine flying over head at 17,500 mph if you had the chance—because now you do.

Astronaut Alexander Gerst participates in an Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) spacesuit fit check, in the Space Station Airlock Test Article (SSATA) of the Crew Systems Laboratory at NASA's Johnson Space Center.
VIEW GALLERY | 15 PHOTOS
Astronaut Alexander Gerst participates in an mobility excercise at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.James Blair—NASA
Astronaut Alexander Gerst participates in an Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) spacesuit fit check, in the Space Station Airlock Test Article (SSATA) of the Crew Systems Laboratory at NASA's Johnson Space Center.
Astronaut Reid Wiseman, participates in an extravehicular activity in the Johnson Space Center in HOuston.
One of perhaps a dozen truly defining moments on the road to launching-today my seat liner for the Soyuz was cast
Reid Wiseman of the U.S., a member of the International Space Station crew, waves to his daughters from a bus before departure for a final pre-launch preparation at the Baikonur cosmodrome
The Soyuz TMA-13M rocket is launched with three astronauts inside on May 29, 2014 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Astronaut Alexander Gerst enjoys the view of Earth from the windows in the Cupola of the International Space Station. A blue and white part of Earth is visible through the windows.
Photographed from the Destiny laboratory, NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, is in the Harmony node of the International Space Station.
In the International Space Station's Harmony node, NASA astronaut Steve Swanson harvests a crop of red romaine lettuce plants that were grown from seed inside the station's Veggie facility,
Nasa: European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gers
Astronaut Reid Wiseman, equipped with a bungee harness, exercises on the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT) in the Tranquility node of the International Space Station.
Astronaut Alexander Gerst, Expedition 40 flight engineer, shaves the head of NASA astronaut Steve Swanson in the Unity node of the International Space Station. Gerst used hair clippers fashioned with a vacuum device.
Freaky to float past the airlock at night. #Spacesuits silently wait for us to join them.
Gorgeous glacial flows near Straits of Magellan. I was there in ’08
It felt like I could reach out and touch it…moving like a snake through the sky
Astronaut Alexander Gerst participates in an mobility excercise at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
James Blair—NASA
1 of 15
All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.