Commander Scott Kelly returns to earth tomorrow after a historic one year aboard the International Space Station. The astronaut will come back to earth having broken the American records for the longest number of days in space (520) and the longest number of consecutive days in space (340). During that time, he shared the amazing views out of his window and what it’s like to live without gravity.
Kelly and his Russian counterpart, Mikhail Kornienko are set to return to earth. According to NASA, Kelly and Kornienko will settle into the Soyuz, capsule that will carry them home at 4:40 PM. The capsule is scheduled to undock from the International Space Station at 8:05 PM and it will enter the Earth’s atmosphere, landing in Kazakhstan at 11:27 PM.
A day after landing, Kelly will be flown to Houston where he will attend a welcome home celebration hosted by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden as well as Second Lady Jill Biden and Assistant to the President for Science and Technology John P. Holdren. There, he will reunite with family and friends, including his identical twin brother Mark, a former shuttle commander.
Even though Kelly is looking forward to seeing his family and friends again, he has claimed he could stay there longer “Yeah, I could go another hundred days, I could go another year if I had to,” he told reporters. The astronaut has even said he hopes the time he spent in the ISS could provide critical details that would help mankind reach Mars.
“I’m hopeful and I think we will learn a lot about longer duration space flight and how that will take us to Mars someday. So, I would like to think this is another of many stepping stones to us landing on Mars some time in our future,” he said.
The first twin study about space exploration
Even though Kelly is not the first astronaut or cosmonaut to have spent a full year in space, his case is unique because he and his brother Mark will be the subjects of the first twin study of space exploration. Comparing Kelly with Mark, a former shuttle commander who stayed on earth, will make it easier for scientists to look for changes brought by the space environment.
Starting before launch, the Kelly twins were subjected to the same tests, blood draws, medical scans and the collection of urine and saliva samples. Both continued data collection after Scott’s launch and both will continue to provide samples well after the mission is over.
The studies will help doctors and scientist to see how microgravity, increased radiation, and other space problems may have affected Kelly’s health over the course of the year comparing him to his twin brother.
Source: Fox News