Astronaut Scott Kelly Comes Home After Year in Space

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Claire Payne, Assistant Content Editor and Staff Writer

On Thursday, March 4th, Astronaut Scott Kelly touched down at Ellington Field in Houston after spending a year in space at the International Space Station. He set the record for the most consecutive days in space by an American.

His year in space was a part of a study in which NASA analyzed the effects of space using twins. Scott Kelly has a twin identical brother Mark Kelly who is a retired fellow astronaut. NASA doctors will compare the two brothers, in hopes of understanding the subtle effects space can have on a human over an extended period of time.

So far, some of the returning astronauts have reported developing vision problems. NASA already knows that living in reduced gravity has a variety of side effects on the human body such as bone loss and an increase in the risk of kidney stones. Currently, doctors have only noticed that Kelly shrunk down to his normal height after a growth spurt in space, growing an inch and a half taller due to temporary extension of the spine. Kelly also said that, “coming back to gravity is harder than leaving gravity,” noting the effects of gravity changes and walking.

It seems impossible to imagine spending an entire year in space. New York Times figured that Kelly watched 10,880 sunrises and sunsets, and he orbited the Earth 5,440 times. Kelly was also able to document his entire journey through photos, posting 713 from space, and if you have not seen them, I highly encourage you take a look on his Instagram or Twitter here: https://twitter.com/stationcdrkelly?lang=en