After a year in space, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth a changed man.
For one, he emerged from the Soyuz landing capsule Tuesday around 1.5 inches taller than he was before the mission. (In microgravity, the spine decompresses and extends.) And, at first, he felt great, Kelly said at a NASA press conference on Friday.
But then, gravity started tugging on his body.
“I’m surprised how I do feel different physically than I did the last time,” Kelly told reporters, comparing this latest re-entry to his previous six-month mission in 2010.
His description of the experience since landing sounds like an epically bad hangover. Every muscle hurts. His skin even hurts. And he just can’t perform at his best. (Though he made no mention of a headache.)
Later in the press conference, Kelly explained he tried to shoot some hoops after returning to the ground. “I didn’t get any of them in the net,” he said. “Not like I’m a good basketball player generally.”
NASA sent Kelly over the year-long mission to examine regardless of whether a yr in area would take a better toll on his entire body than the standard six-month mission. They won’t really know for any even though: It will take no less than a yr for Kelly’s data to get analyzed, NASA scientists mentioned.
But anecdotally, the man himself says it had been tougher both physically and psychologically. With six months, he said, “you can see the finish.” Together with the 12 months journey, he mentioned, it felt like he lived about the room station forever.
“The hardest part is being isolated in a physical sense from the people on the ground that are important to you,” Kelly said during a previous press conference aboard the space station. “There’s a loss of connection with folks on the ground that you care for and love and you want to spend time with, which is a challenge.”
NASA will have to address these concerns during a Mars mission, where a round trip journey would last a year or more.
And when Kelly did say he grew an inch and also a half in space, (possibly offering him a height advantage above his twin Mark for your 1st time in his life) he is aware of that advantage will disappear rapidly.
Scott Kelly’s life, height return to normal after near year in space
Astronaut Scott Kelly, who grew about 2 inches during his nearly one year stay on the International Space Station, is back to his normal height, his identical twin brother, Mark, said Thursday.
Scott Kelly, whose spine elongated while he spent 340 days in space, took less than two days to shrink.
Mark Kelly, a former astronaut, told CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” by email that the two went back-to-back an hour after his brother returned to the United States early Thursday.
Scott grew 1½ inches before returning to normal, he said.
Scott Kelly landed in Kazakhstan on Wednesday morning, and arrived in Houston to hugs and American treats a day later.
There he was welcomed by his twin, second lady Jill Biden and various NASA officials.
Biden brought the astronaut some beer and apple pie.
“Nothing’s more American than that,” she said. “… That’s what he said he wanted.”
‘It’s great to be back’
Scott Kelly, 52, attributed the success of his year in space to his NASA colleagues, family and friends.
“It’s great to be back in Texas, on U.S. soil … on planet Earth,” he said.
“This is not my achievement. It’s NASA’s achievement and it’s our country’s achievement. … There’s no greater privilege than serving your country however and wherever you might do it.”
In a phone call, President Barack Obama applauded him for his record-breaking yearlong mission.
In a statement, the White House said, “Kelly’s year in space would provide critical data to researchers trying to understand how to keep astronauts healthy during long space voyages and fulfill the President’s vision of putting American astronauts on Mars in the 2030s.”
Though he’s no longer an astronaut, Mark Kelly volunteered to take part in NASA’s “Twins Study” with his brother. NASA wants to see how the identical twins measure up after a year in two very different environments: Scott in space and Mark on Earth.
Scott Kelly returned to Earth after 340 days, the longest any U.S. astronaut has been in space.
Since then, he’s been getting reacquainted with his planet. After garnering a million Twitter followers during his stint in space, the astronaut has started tweeting about life back on the ground — including a long-awaited plunge into a swimming pool while still wearing his NASA jumpsuit.
And after nearly a year sharing pictures of breathtaking views and high-tech equipment, Kelly did something Wednesday that showed he’s just like the rest of us.