Astronaut Scott Kelly has done amazing things, and is most definitely a hero everyone can be proud of. His contributions to science will continue to be felt for many years to come, and may even take us closer to our dream of colonising our solar system.
In total, Scott has spent 520 days in space, and he recently returned from 340 consecutive days aboard the International Space Station where he took part in NASA‘s One-Year Mission, an experiment aimed at discovering how long-term spaceflight and how living in space affects the human body.
Scott set the record for the longest number of consecutive days a United States astronaut has spent in space, though that record will soon be beaten when NASA astronaut Jeff Williams launches on the 18th of March for a planned 534 days in space.
Despite being a world record holder (for now), it’s not what he’s best known for. Scott rose to the attention of the general public thanks to his use of social media, and in particular the incredible, amazingly beautiful photos he posted from the International Space Station. You can see them here or follow him on Instagram @stationcdrkelly.
Scott posted over 700 images to Instagram and shared all the different ways he kept himself amused while in lower Earth orbit.
Scott has been celebrated for his natural ability to both entertain and educate the general public while in space, and he certainly single handedly brought a lot of attention to the often ignored space program with his cheeky sense of humour and humble, child-like sense of wonder.
Scott recently decided to retire from NASA, and will leave that institution on the 1st of April. He will continue to be tested after he leaves NASA, so that scientists can keep examining the effects of long term space travel and habitation on the human body.
As we get ready to send a mission to Mars, and as we continue to contemplate putting a base on both the Moon and Mars, experiments of the type Scott undertook on behalf of scientific research, are essential.
Scott hasn’t really given a reason for why he is leaving NASA, but at 52 years of age and after spending 20 years as an astronaut, he probably wants to spend a little time Earth side – at least for a while.
Scott hasn’t ruled out a return to space, but it seems clear he’d like to stay around his family and friends for now.
Scott joined NASA in 1996 and spent time in the Space Shuttle program and of course, as part of the International Space Station crew.
Brian Kelly, the director of Flight Operations at NASA‘s Johnson Space Centre in Houston, said “In his year aboard the space station, he (Scott) took part in experiments that will have far-reaching effects, helping us pave the way to putting humans on Mars and benefiting life on Earth. His passion for this work has helped give hundreds of thousands of people a better understanding of what NASA does, thanks in part to the numerous photos and updates he shared from space. We appreciate his years of service and anticipate many benefits to come from them, thanks to the research he’s supporting.”
To read NASA‘s media release, visit their official site here.
Thank you, Scott, for sharing your journey into space with us and for helping push the limits of science, and an enormous thank you for helping us take one step closer to the future we saw in Space: 1999.