After spending almost a whole year in the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly returns to his home. Measuring almost two inches more than when he left earth, Kelly arrives with a list of physical predicaments. Including sore muscles, skin issues, joint pains among others.

The astronaut arrived on earth Thursday, in Kazakhstan. Measuring two inches taller than his twin brother, studies conducted by NASA have determined that the temporary differentiation is caused by elongation of the spine in the zero gravity environment. 

Commander Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko marked their 300th consecutive day in space on January 21st, 2016. Credit: Gizmodo via NASA

Here, in Earth, the vertebrae are pushed together by gravitational forces, since there’s no gravity in space the push is absent. Causing the vertebrae to expand naturally and increasing height. Scott Kelly will only be taller than his twin brother for a short period of time since the contraction of the gravitational forces returns his height to normal.

Kelly has declared that since he arrived on earth, there has been issues with his skin. Since he hadn’t touched anything for a long period of time, the skin became more sensitive and gives him a burning feeling. Scott Kelly’s mission was part of a Human Research Program on the effects of long-term space travel on the human body. Kelly will also undergo different tests to identify potential physiological changes

The astronaut was sent to the International Space Station on a mission that could lead an expedition to Mars. The objective is to send humans to Mars, that’s 78 million kilometers away. The trip to the planet is expected to happen in 2035, and NASA expects the trip to last 2.5 years.

Kelly’s mission will allow scientists at NASA to study the impacts of weightlessness, radiation and congested environments to humans during space travel. The results of this tests will help the future Mars mission

This was not Kelly’s first time in space. He has completed a total of 520 days out of the earth, much more than any other American astronaut, he was accompanied by Russian astronaut Mikhail Kornienko. Normally astronauts are sent to the International Space Station for projects that last 6 months at its maximum.

Kelly declared that, although it was hard to be away from his family and friends the experience allowed him to study and perform over 450 experiments. Also, he was able to look down on Earth and appreciate it more, he mentions how polluted Asia looks and the thin and fragile structure that the atmosphere of the Earth has become.

 Source: Examiner