About 250 miles above Earth, circling the planet at 17,500 miles an hour aboard the International Space Station, American astronaut Kathleen Rubins voted in the election, joining millions of others across the country who voted early.
“If we can do it from space, then I think people can do it from the ground too,” she said in a video posted to the NASA website.
Astronaut and marine biologist Ms. Rubins, who passes by Kate, was the first person to sequence DNA in space on a mission in 2016. As part of her current mission, she is conducting experiments related to the cardiovascular system.
In fact, Ms. Rubins might have had an easier time voting from space than if she were back on Earth.
In New York City, where early voting began on Saturday, tens of thousands of voters waited hours to vote, queues stretching for blocks outside polling stations. Similar scenes have been reported in other states.
As Election Day is still eight days away, more than 60 million Americans have already voted, beating the turnout record in early 2016.
Astronauts have been voting from space since 1997, when lawmakers in Texas put in place a technical process for them to vote. Many astronauts choose to enroll in Texas because they train at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Ms Rubins skipped the lines, but had to take a few extra steps to vote from space. First, before her rocket launched, she signaled her intention to participate in the election by filling out a federal postcard application, the same form filled out by military personnel serving outside the United States, NASA said in a post on their website.
The next step, like most things at NASA, involved a trial run. The county clerk sent a ballot to a team at the Houston Space Center, where officials checked if they could fill out the ballot and return it.
After the test, the space centre’s mission control center linked Ms. Rubins’ ballot. From space, she cast her ballot, which officials downlinked and emailed back to the county clerk’s office.
Ms Rubins’ vote, cast last week, came well ahead of the 7 p.m. election day deadline for astronauts.