It’s almost over.
Scott Kelly, one-half of the One-Year Mission, is getting ready to head home on March 1. He and his partner Mikhail Kornienko of the Russian space agency Roscosmos will return to terra firma after spending 340 days orbiting Earth aboard the International Space Station (ISS). He will have spent a total of 520 days in space in his entire career.
While aboard the ISS the two astronauts — along with several other crewmembers — conducted various scientific experiments. But what the One-Year Mission focused on was the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the human body. If humans are going to embark on space-faring missions to Mars or beyond, it’s important to learn the effects that low gravity, space radiation and more have on our fragile bodies.
Kelly’s twin brother Mark — a former astronaut himself — was also part of the experiment, but his role was back on Earth. Tests and experiments were done on both and doctors and scientists will be analyzing and comparing the differences in the months to come.
Kelly reflected on his time aboard the ISS, with some nostalgia, but noted there have been challenges.
“The space station is a magical place,” Kelly said. “It’s somewhat of a harsh environment…you don’t feel perfectly normal. There’s always lingering something,” he said. “Having said that it’s not necessarily uncomfortable. ”
As for how difficult it’s been, Kelly said, “Physically, I feel pretty good… But I think the hardest part is being isolated in a physical sense from people on the ground who are important to you.”
He said that after spending time with his family, including his sister-in-law Gabrielle Giffords who was shot shortly in his previous stint aboard the ISS, he plans on spending some time in his pool.
There was also some fun during his year, of course.
The international co-operation has been incredibly important, Kelly said, and that bodes well for the future in space for all humans.
“If we can dream it, we can do it,” he said.
© 2016 Shaw Media