After a long 340-day stay aboard the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly will be returning to Earth this week in a Soyuz spacecraft along with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Korniyenko.
Reflecting on his year in space, Kelly said that he could easily go another year on the International Space Station, but he wouldn't mind returning to Earth to get back with the people that mean a lot to him. Although he’s spent 34o consecutive days in space during this particular trip, he’s accumulated a grand total of 500 days in space across multiple missions.
Kelly will undergo a medical checkup to see how the long-term stay in space has affected his health. Data collected from these long-term International Space Station missions is helpful because NASA would one day like to send mankind to Mars and we still don't really have a clue how such a feat will impact the health of the human body.
Scott Kelly, along with his twin brother Mark who has stayed on Earth all this time, have been collecting bodily fluid samples that will be compared to one another to see how the year-long stay in space affects the body. Obviously, Mark plays an important role as the control variable, while Scott will show if space has any adverse effects.
During his stay on the International Space Station, Kelly has taken some amazing photographs of the Earth and plenty of other things that have inspired the world about space travel. More importantly, he has also been a very important character in many of NASA’s experiments that are currently taking place on board the International Space Station, such as growing lettuce in space, and even growing flowers in space.
The Soyuz carrying Kelly and Korniyenko will land on Earth at approximately 11:27 P.M. on Tuesday after it undocks from the International Space Station at about 8:05 P.M.