Two Astronauts Return To Earth After Record 340 Days In ISS
US astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian Mikhail Kornienko returned to Earth Wednesday after spending a year aboard the International Space Station (ISS), conducting experiments for future trips to Mars.
Accompanied by Russian Sergei Volkov, Kornienko and Kelly, who spent 340 days on board ISS, landed as planned in Kazakhstan at 04H27 GMT said the control center in NASA.
“The air is so nice here” Kelly said when leaving the Soyuz spacecraft.
Mikhail Kornienko, 55, and Scott Kelly, 52, completed the longest uninterrupted period aboard ISS since the station was deployed in 2000.
Kelly, who has made four trips to Isis Space Station, also breaks the record for cumulative time in space by an American, with 540 days.
The world record for uninterrupted time spent in space is held by Russian Valeri Polyakov, which was more than 14 months aboard the space station Mir in 1995.
Kelly and Kornienko performed this mission to study the biological and psychological effects of long stays in space in order to prepare future missions to Mars in 2030 or sooner.
During their stay at the station, both were frequently subjected to medical examination and a battery of tests to study the long-term effects of micro-gravity on the human body.
Kelly’s twin brother, Mark Kelly, also participated in the experiment but on the ground, in order to compare the two bodies and detect the physiological effects of space travel.
“Physically I feel very well,” Kelly said Thursday in an interview via video conference. “I could stay another 100 days … I could stay another year,” he said, although he admitted he was “eager to return” to his family and friends.
With no gravity in space, water droplets float in the air and stick to the skin when in contact with the body, making it very difficult to shower. Astronauts must clean up instead with wet sponges.
Therefore, “the first thing” Kelly said he would do when he got home in Houston (Texas), would “swim in my pool.”
The absence of gravity also reduces muscle mass and bone density, forcing the astronauts to exercise frequently.
Kelly and Kornienko lifted off on March 27, 2015 in the company of Russian Gennady Padalka, which in turn broke the record of human flight accumulated in orbit, 879 days when he returned to Earth on September 11, 2015.
Sergei Volkov, who took off for the station on December 15, 2015, has spent 182 days in orbit.
Sixteen countries participate in this orbiting laboratory that revolves around Earth since 1998 and has cost over 100,000 million, financed mostly by Russia and the United States.
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