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ISS Cosmonaut Spots Whimsical Space 'Stowaways'

Thank goodness it's not Daleks.

progress1
The "stowaways" are marked by the red circle in this image of the Progress MS-18 cargo craft departing the ISS.
Sergey Korsakov/Roscosmos (red circle added)

Let's put ourselves in the floating shoes of Roscosmos cosmonaut Sergey Korsakov, current a resident of the International Space Station. You're taking pictures of the Russian Progress MS-18 spacecraft, which has just undocked from the station. You see two pairs of eyes staring back at you. What do you do? You share it on social media.

On Wednesday, Korsakov tweeted a couple of photos of the cargo craft, which was heading off to burn up in Earth's atmosphere. "Progress MS-18 successfully undocked and departed. But who are those stowaways watching us?" Korsakov wrote.

One of the images is a wide view of the Progress craft. The other is a close-up showing two dome-shaped protuberances that appear to be gazing back at the ISS with bright, beady eyes. Of course, they're not actually eyes. Those are just some components that happen to be catching the light in a way that makes the protuberances look like mini Star Wars droids attached to the outside of the spacecraft.

Here's a closer look at the Progress MS-18 "stowaways."

Sergey Korsakov/Roscosmos

Twitters users chimed in to suggest the shapes looked like R2-D2 from Star Wars or ill-tempered Daleks from Doctor Who. I think they resemble the Sontarans from Doctor Who.   

Korsakov is one of seven crew members on the station. He's been aboard the ISS since mid-March, which is apparently enough time to start imagining whimsical things out in space. Korsakov's flight of fancy gives us landlubbers an entertaining peek into the cosmonaut's sense of humor.