2 head home after year in space

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly corrals the supply of fresh fruit that arrived on the Kounotori 5 H-II Tr ...

After nearly an entire year living on space aboard the ISS, American astronaut Scott Kelly is back on earth and has returned to Houston. It is the longest continuous stay in space for an American astronaut.

Shortly after returning to Earth Wednesday Kelly said that his year in space will help fuel longer-term space missions, paving the way for NASA's ambitious plan to send humans to Mars.

Late at night on March 2, Kelly landed in the Kazakhstan desert with fellow astronauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov, marking the official end of their "Year in Space" mission.

And while Kelly did say he grew an inch and a half in space, (possibly giving him a height advantage over his twin Mark for the first time in his life) he knows that benefit will disappear quickly.

NASA welcomed Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko home to Earth on March 1 after their "One-Year Mission" in space. Researchers evaluated how the astronauts walked, recovered from a fall, stood up and lifted objects after 340 days in space.

"The data analysis is only now beginning in earnest", John Charles, associate manager for NASA's Human Research Program, said at a news conference today.

"There's no place like home!" he wrote, on a video post of him jumping into his swimming pool. "It's not statistically valid to say that differences between them must be due to the spaceflight".

But if NASA ever does fly a Mars mission in the near future, Kelly doesn't think he'll be aboard. "Even though I had a shower in Canada, I hadn't had running water for 340 days", he said. Like, getting a call from the president, or taking a dip, or looking around you and seeing your space journey in all the little things. "I tried to have milestones that were close", said Kelly in describing how he handled the mission.

"The workouts have positively impacted the astronauts' bones and muscles, and they are coming back in really good shape", he said.

"In a very material way, he has been having to work out two hours every day to try to maintain his health while being productive just like an astronaut would have to on the way to Mars", said Jones. NASA said that's pretty normal for an astronaut, in the absence of full strength gravity pressing down on gel-filled discs between the vertebrae in the spine, they expand and lengthen. "We do have an impact on that and the ability to change it if we make the decision to". "There are many exciting opportunities out there, maybe in the commercial aspect", he added.

Related news