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#YearInSpace Comes to a Close

#YearInSpace Comes to a Close

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly returns tonight from nearly a year in space.

Kelly’s #YearInSpace Comes to a Close

BY JUANI HOPWOOD

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: ISS)

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: ISS)

Belated Happy Leap Day to NASA astronaut Scott Kelly! According to The New York Times, Mr. Kelly returns tonight from nearly a year (technically, 340 days) in space spent at the International Space Station – to date, the longest stay in space for a NASA astronaut. The previous record was held by NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría, who enjoyed 215 consecutive days in space. The all-time record, however, is held by Russian astronaut Valeri Polyakov, who remained in space for 438 days.

Because Mr. Kelly will have completed four missions upon his arrival, he will have spent a cumulative total of 540 days in space.

Mark (left) and Scott (right) Kelly, the only two twins to ever have traveled to space. (Credit: NASA)

Mr. Kelly’s #YearInSpace, the hashtag through which colleagues, astrophiles and fans have followed his orbit, provides scientists with valuable insight into longer-duration spaceflight – an important component of future trips to Mars – and genetic and physiological changes caused by space. Mr. Kelly has an earthbound twin brother, Mark, also an astronaut, who is the “control” subject for the One-Year Mission.

In addition to uniquely useful data, Mr. Kelly’s extended journey has also has changed his own perspective on our blue and green planet.

During a February 25 news conference broadcast on NASA Television, Mr. Kelly said, “The more I look at earth, at certain parts of earth, the more I feel more of an environmentalist. There are definitely areas where the earth is covered with pollution almost all the time, and it’s not good for any of us.”

Follow Scott Kelly on Instagram (@StationCDRKelly) and watch Mr. Kelly’s February 25th in-flight news conference here:

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Juani Hopwood is Online Editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach her at juani@freeabq.com.

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