News / Science & Technology

    NASA Astronaut Set to Return After Year in Space

    FILE - NASA astronaut Scott Kelly listens to a question about his scheduled mission aboard the International Space Station during a briefing at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Dec. 5, 2012.
    FILE - NASA astronaut Scott Kelly listens to a question about his scheduled mission aboard the International Space Station during a briefing at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Dec. 5, 2012.
    George Putic

    The first International Space Station crew to spend almost a year in space is about to return to Earth.

    As U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly levitated gently in the middle of a room with walls covered in equipment, cables, scientific instruments and several high-end cameras, he talked about his life on board the International Space Station and the prospects of much longer space missions.

    "I'd like for the legacy of this flight to be that we can decide to do hard things, and hard things that will take us farther away from the Earth, and this is one of them,” he said. “And I'm hopeful, and I think we will learn a lot about longer-duration space flight and how will it take us to Mars someday."

    The most difficult aspects of living in space, Kelly said, are the lack of gravity and the lack of running water. Not surprisingly, the first thing he wants to do when he gets home is to jump in his pool.

    The astronaut said he feels very good physically, but admitted that it might be a subjective impression.

    FILE - Astronaut Scott Kelly makes an inspection on the International Space Station, Nov. 6, 2015.
    FILE - Astronaut Scott Kelly makes an inspection on the International Space Station, Nov. 6, 2015.

    Asked about the psychological difficulties, Kelly said the only thing he really misses is physical contact with his family.

    "I don't know if I'd necessarily call it the psychological aspect, but there's certainly, you know, a loss of connection with the folks on the ground that you care for and love and you want to spend time with. That, I think, is a challenge," he said.

    Data collection

    The purpose of the yearlong experiment is to collect data to help astronauts prepare for deep space missions, such as a visit to Mars.

    When Kelly returns to Earth, scientists will compare his physical data to that of his twin brother, now-retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly.

    What has Scott Kelly learned from his time in space?

    For future long-term missions, he said, the living quarters would have to be much better designed.

    FILE - Scott Kelly shared photographs of a blooming zinnia flower in the Veggie plant growth system aboard the International Space Station, Jan. 16, 2016.
    FILE - Scott Kelly shared photographs of a blooming zinnia flower in the Veggie plant growth system aboard the International Space Station, Jan. 16, 2016.

    "On a trip to Mars, we're not going to have this much space, obviously,” he said. “You're going to be in much tighter quarters. You're going to live, you're going to use the restroom, you're going to exercise, all within, you know, a few square meters of one another. It's not going to be like science fiction spaceship going to Mars."

    But a trip to Mars is possible in the near future, Kelly said.

    "After being here for so long, that's one thing I definitely realize that, you know, if we can dream it, you know, we can do it if we really want to," he said.

    Kelly and his Russian counterpart, Mikhail Kornienko, are scheduled to land at Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday, March 1.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora