For centuries, a setting sun has signaled the end of fasting rituals on holidays such as Ramadan and Yom Kippur, a cue to tuck into a delicious meal after a full day of abstaining from food and drink. But what if the sun’s clockwork were to suddenly change, as it does for astronauts riding aboard the International Space Station? The orbiting laboratory whips around the Earth at about 17,000 miles per hour (27,600 kilometers per hour), giving passengers 16 sunrises and sunsets each day.
It’s a question astronaut Sultan Alneyadi has been contending with since his arrival at the space station on March 3. He’s one of fewer than a dozen Muslim astronauts who have traveled to space, and at the end of his mission in about five months, he will have been the first astronaut from the United Arab Emirates to complete a long-duration stay on the floating laboratory.