Science

Scott Kelly, Mikhail Kornienko Return To Earth After A ‘Year In Space’

They are back! US astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko landed safely late Tuesday night at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. On their way back, Kelly and Kornienko were accompanied by another Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov, who spend 182 days aboard the International Space Station after arriving there in September 2015.

Scott Kelly, Mikhail Kornienko Return To Earth After A 'Year In Space'

Kelly, Mikhail Kornienko spent 340 days in space

Kelley and his Russian counterpart spent 340 days on the space station. After being hoisted from the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, the US astronaut could be seen giving a thumbs up and pumping his fist. “The air out here feels great. I’ve no idea why you guys are so bundled up,” Kelly said after returning to Earth. Their arrival marks the end of NASA Expedition 46 and the beginning of Expedition 47.

All three of them underwent field tests immediately after leaving the Soyuz spacecraft that brought them back. The trio landed at 11:26 p.m. EST on Tuesday, though it was on Wednesday morning local time. The US space agency NASA also posted a video of Soyuz entering the Earth’s atmosphere.

Scott Kelly is an interesting case

The year-long mission began in March 2015. Both Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko were part of a study regarding the impact of long-duration space flights on the human body. The lack of gravity in outer space means bone density and muscle mass could reduce. It could also diminish the eyesight due to an increase in the cerebrospinal fluid around the optical nerve. Researchers in Kazakhstan were planning to analyze how Kelly and Kornienko’s bodies responded to different movements and positions.

The study will help researchers plan future long-duration trips, likely to Mars and beyond. Mikhail Kornienko and Scott Kelly shared the International Space Station with 13 other astronauts over the past year. Kelly was an interesting case because he is a twin. It means, besides comparing his physiology from before he left, he will also be compared to his twin brother Mark Kelly, a former NASA astronaut.

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