American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko are due to return to Earth tonight after spending 340 days on the International Space Station, and NASA is currently live-streaming coverage of his return, starting with a farewell and a hatch closure that’s going on now, with de-orbit and landing coverage scheduled to begin at 10:15 PM. You can watch the coverage above!
Kelly’s mission in space, which saw him travelling over 140 million miles in orbit, will help NASA understand how the human body reacts and adapts to long-duration spaceflight, which will help them develop their capabilities for manned missions to Mars – hopefully as soon as the 2030s!
In the meantime, as Kelly gets readjusted to things like, you know, gravity and having your food and beverages stay in their respective containers when they’re opened, he will have the privilege of holding several records as an American astronaut. He’s the current record-holder for most consecutive days in space, as well as most cumulative time in space (520 days total).
While Kelly says he could easily spend more time on the ISS, he is glad to be returning home, as there’s definitely stuff he’s missed. According to Huffpost Science, Kelly says:
It’s kind of like I’ve been in the woods camping for a year, with regards to hygiene. And then the fact that everything floats makes your daily life just more difficult.
Going outside, there’s no sun on your face. … You never feel this cool breeze. It’s always exactly the same.
Kelly and Kornienko touch down in Kazakhstan at 11:25 PM. NASA’s coverage continues with Kelly’s return to Houston on Wednesday and post-flight briefings Friday.
Will you be checking it out?
(image via screencap)
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