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Scott Kelly Returns After Year in Space

March 3rd, 2016

Astronaut Scott Kelly. Photo credit: NASA via Wikimedia Commons

Astronaut Scott Kelly returned Tuesday from spending nearly an entire year in space. 340 days!

It’s the longest time any American astronaut has spent there (a Russian cosmonaut holds the world record).

The mission was part of an experiment to see how the human body holds up for longer periods of time in space, especially as we hope to explore deeper space in the future and go to planets like Mars.

Scott’s twin brother, Mark Kelly, also an astronaut, stayed on Earth. They’re being compared to each other to see what difference the year in space had on Scott Kelly’s body. They’re identical twins so it’s a unique and important opportunity to compare two people as biologically similar to each other as possible.

Scott Kelly trained for two years for the one year in space.

The year at the International Space Station was long but also eventful.

He traveled with Russian cosmonaut Mikhael Kornienko.

Over 400 experiments were conducted.

Two attempts to send rockets with new food and supplies failed, which made everyone a bit nervous. There were still 9 months left to go when that happened!

The most dangerous part of their time there wasn’t (as many would think) the traveling to and from there … it’s the risks on board including the possibility of a fire or a leak. Then there’s always space debris! The longer you’re up there the greater the risk.

There were incredible moments too, including aurora, a space walk, growing flowers, and amazing photos.

And lonely ones, missing his girlfriend and two daughters.

Apparently space has a smell too. He described it as a “burning metal” kind of smell. Hmmmm.

Mr. Kelly described his re-entry to earth kind of like being in a barrel going over Niagra Falls … on fire. But then added that “as soon as you realize you’re not going to die, it’s the most fun you’ve ever had.”

Of the trip itself he noted that you don’t see borders from space and seeing Earth from the Space Station makes you realize that you are “part of something larger than yourself.”

Welcome back, Scott Kelly! So glad you made it home safely!

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