NASA Astronaut to Make History

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: Astronaut Scott Kelly is embarking on a yearlong space journey to set the record for the longest time spent on a space station (specifically the International Space Station). He will be joined by two other astronauts, who will also be setting world records for longest time spent consecutively in space and most days spent in space. The journey is expected to last approximately 12 months, and Kelly is staying positive. “Who knows, maybe there are some crazy thoughts I’ll have at the end that I wouldn’t want to share” (Barnett 17).

Maddy James, Staff Writer

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly departed in the morning of March 27th on a Russian rocket from Kazakhstan with the intent to set the world record for longest time spent on a space station at a single time – 342 days. He is accompanied by Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka, with Kornienko staying for one year and Padalka staying for 6 months. Kelly and Kornienko are striving to beat the record of longest time spent on a space station previously set by NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, who spent approximately 7 months on International Space Station (ISS). Padalka will continue to set the record for longest time spent in space combined (he currently has a total of 710 days).

Although Scott Kelly is embarking on this journey for personal accomplishment, he is also part of a parallel study with his identical twin brother, retired astronaut Mark Kelly. Each man will keep a journal and document their feelings so scientists can compare the effects of the mental growth of a person over a year when they are immersed in society or isolated in a place, such as space. Scientists are also hoping to better understand the physical effects that extended space travel has on the body in order to begin making assessments of the possibility to send astronauts further into space.