UPDATE: After a bit more research, I’ve found that the icon is a copy of Our Lady of Kazan, one of the most revered images in Russian Orthodoxy. The icon was brought aboard the ISS last year after it was donated to the Russian space program by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow. The cosmonaut in the photograph to the right is Yuri Gagarin.
While watching the latest “This Week at NASA” segment, something in the background caught my eye–one of the icons brought aboard the ISS by the station’s Russian crew. You can see the image in the screen capture above just over the left shoulder of astronaut Don Pettit on the left, or in the video below at about 1:53″. It’s good to see that, even onboard the most distant outposts of human reach, the fundamental human spirit still cherishes such subtle reminders of what is both truly man’s highest aspiration and closest to his heart.