Just last week, U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly broke a U.S. record by having spent more than 383 cumulative days in space, which surpasses the previous cumulative days in space record of 382 days set by U.S. astronaut Mike Fincke. Kelly’s time in space has been divided over four individual trips.
It’s worth nothing that just last month, Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka broke the record as the “most experienced spaceman” with a total of 879 days in space, but this number was divided over 5 separate trips back and forth between Earth and space.
Scott Kelly has been on two space shuttle missions, as well as two International Space Station missions. Kelly shares his experiences and wisdom, along with various detailed photos of Earth from space in a Facebook post, where he reflects on his current mission, which he’s now halfway done with.
I am halfway into a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station and what a journey it has been. A year really is a long time…a long time to never be able to go outside, or feel the sun on your face, or to see your family through anything besides a computer screen. But a mission to Mars is even longer, and the work we’re doing right now is a huge leap in reaching the goal of sending humans to walk on the Red planet.
Being in space for long periods of time isn’t easy; being trapped in the International Space Station makes Kelly long for the luxurious windy breezes and warmth of Sunlight that can be experienced here on Earth, plus, being away from your family for so long can have unsettling effects on the mind and conscience.
These long-term space missions are important to space agencies however, because it helps them research what is humanly possible in terms of how long mankind can survive in space, as well as what impacts space travel has on health over time. It’s hoped that the information obtained through this research will help bring us one step closer to that long-term mission to Mars that NASA keeps going on about.
Below, you can see a chart that illustrates how Kelly's space experience compares to other U.S. astronauts:
Kelly is scheduled to return to Earth on March 3rd of 2016 from his current mission that started on March of 2015, which means he will have spent a grand total of 522 days in space by that time.