NASA astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth last week with Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko after a long 340-day stay in space aboard the International Space Station.
During the trip, Kelly broke a record for the longest time spent by an American in space while performing over 450 experiments in space, and now he recalls his stay on the International Space Station and talks a little about how returning to Earth made him feel and what the ride back to Earth was like.
As you might expect, Kelly has “mixed feelings” about returning to Earth, mostly because he enjoyed what he was doing on the International Space Station and didn’t particularly want to leave a place where he’d gotten comfortable, but he also missed the Earth so much for the fresh air and the personal contact with his family.
Also, just looking at Kelly’s face, you can tell he’s exhausted. The trip back to Earth has left him with a type of ‘jet lag’ similar to that of what you’d expect from travelling from one part of the world to another via airplane. Moving at these speeds confuses your body’s circadian rhythm, and makes it desperate to catch up with missed sleep.
Kelly recalls some details in the video below:
While aboard the International Space Station for so long, Kelly was a test subject for NASA. NASA was taking bodily samples from his twin brother, Mark Kelly, as well as Scott, in order to see what the effects of long-term space travel would be on the human body.
This information is very valuable for carefully tailoring new equipment to improve the safety of future missions, which may involve deep space travel such as missions to Mars or additional long stays aboard the International Space Station.