NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who returned Wednesday from a record-setting 340-straight days on the International Space Station, said looking down on planet Earth for so long made him a far more committed environmentalist. “Whether it’s science, or going to a certain destination”.
Johnson Space Center physiologist Dr. John Charles said he was impressed Kelly managed to complete all his physical exercises – standing up suddenly, walking heel-to-toe, navigating an obstacle course – immediately after touchdown.
“Just like Scott, I wanted to see Earth and I wanted to smell that fresh air”.
While aboard the space station, Mr. Kelly and Mr. Kornienko used a Russian contraption that, through negative pressure, attempts to draw fluids back down to the legs.
Humans aren’t engineered for long-term space travel, which makes Kelly’s Year in Space mission a key component of NASA’s efforts to mitigate the harsh effects.
“There are things we are going to discover about our experience in space in the space station that we don’t even know now”, Kelly said. Kelly’s twin brother, a retired astronaut, participated in parallel studies on Earth.
Kelly’s year in space was about more than just observing the lengthening of the spine caused by microgravity.
The astronaut was also asked whether he has noticed any differences between him and his brother. “I think the planet will eventually recover”.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, left, and his twin Mark get together before a news conference Friday, March 4, 2016, in Houston.
Mark Kelly explained more succinctly: “He’s been squished back to normal height”.
When Kelly returned he addressed the crowd saying, “It’s great to be back in Texas in the U.S., on United States of America soil”. By the time Kelly is jumping into his pool back home in Houston, his blood will have arrived at Bailey’s laboratory in the Molecular and Radiological Biosciences Building. “I hadn’t had running water in 340 days and it’s something you really miss”, he said.
He reiterated this message Friday.
“When he’s [Kelly] taken out of the element of gravity and walking on hard surfaces and sitting down, what ends up happening is that there’s no need for those curves”, said Haas. “The first people that go there, that will be a big motivation, to be the first people that go to Mars”.
Kelly and Kornienko conducted studies to help NASA better understand what happens to the human body after spending extended time in space before sending astronauts to explore Mars and embark on longer expeditions.
These future missions will show and Scott’s flight has demonstrated the power of American objective: one person facing the mortal dangers of space for the sake of global cooperation, science and exploration; the resolve to once again test the limits of risk in order to win progress; and a nation marshaling its innovation to realize that victory.