After spending 340 days in space, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is back home on Tuesday. But the world’s most advanced space administration said Kelley’s stay in space will help the agency in its quest to understand more about the planet Mars.
Kelly, officially the lone American scientist who spent the longest in space to date, stayed in space with Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov, CNN reports Tuesday. The report adds that immediately after landing on a desert in Kazakhstan, the three-man team underwent a series of field tests. The mission was in cooperation between NASA and Russian space administration.
Despite possible detrimental effects a prolonged stay in space has on one’s health, especially in someone’s vision and bones, Kelly seems unaffected. After all, it’s not his first trip in space; it’s his fourth. He shrugged off such fears, saying he’s healthy and can stay there much longer if needed.
“I could go for another 100 days or 100 years,” the astronaut said during his final briefing with reporters. “The hardest part is being isolated from people on the ground who are important to you,” Kelly was quoted as saying by CNN.
Kelly, however, complained about the loneliness he experienced while doing his mission in the International Space Station. During his year-long mission, he witnessed fascinating natural events unfold before his eyes, including the onslaught of Hurricane Patricia.
Replacing Kelly on his post is American cosmonaut Jeffrey Williams, who will be joined by Russian counterparts Russians Aleksey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka. The trio is set to depart on March 18, a report from BBC shows. Currently, the ISS is manned by astronauts Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko.