That’s the word from astronaut Scott Kelly, NASA’s space-endurance champ who returned to bitterly cold Kazakhstan on Wednesday, along with his roommate for the past year, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko.
Kelly and his identical twin brother Mark, a former NASA astronaut, are also participating in genetic studies, the first to assess if genetic changes occur during long spaceflights.
Kelly and Kornienko completed an International Space Station record year-long mission to collect valuable data on the effect of long duration weightlessness on the human body that will be used to formulate a human mission to Mars.
Scott Kelly landed in a Soyuz capsule in Kazakhstan Tuesday at 11:26 p.m., along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko, who had been aboard the ISS with Kelly. Before committing to even longer Mars missions, NASA wants to know the limits of the human body for a year, minus gravity.
Following touchdown, the two yearlong spacemen were scheduled to undergo a series of medical tests.
More than anything else, his constant tweets from space have made the day for many earthlings, including those in India.
Kelly and Kornienko spent 340 consecutive days in space.
“Scott Kelly’s one-year mission aboard the International Space Station has helped to advance deep space exploration and America’s Journey to Mars“, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement.
Two members of the International Space Station returned to Earth after 340 days in space.
Replacing Kelly on his post is American cosmonaut Jeffrey Williams, who will be joined by Russian counterparts Russians Aleksey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka.
“Leaving this unbelievable facility is going to be tough, because I probably will never see it again”, Kelly said.
Kelly has proven a popular figure for NASA and has leveraged social media to build goodwill for the space agency’s missions.
They have been subjected to a battery of tests and other experiments in preparation for a future manned mission to Mars and beyond.
Gutro remarked that Kelly looked “hale and hearty” after his spaceflight, and the astronaut told his flight surgeon that he didn’t feel “much different than five years ago”, the last time he descended to Earth from space.
Kelly spent 125 more days in space than the closest USA contender. He checked into the space station last March and by the six-month mark last September, “I felt like I had been up there my whole life”.