Astronaut Scott Kelly Returns to Earth

After nearly a year in space, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly returns home to earth, and soars into the history books. He received a hero's welcome late last week, as he completed a record-breaking mission aboard the International Space Station.

Kelly and his Russian counterpart Mikhail Kornienko witnessed nearly 11,000 sunrises and sunsets over the course of their 340 day mission. That's because the ISS circumnavigates Earth once every 90 minutes.

And thanks to technology, the astronaut was able to chronicle his journey with all of us through social media. Kelly snapped hundreds of breath-taking photographs, in addition to engaging with his twitter followers about space exploration. He also took part in groundbreaking research and set a space-travel record, all while sharing his experience with the world.

Kelly actually holds two NASA records. Over the course of four missions, Kelly has spent 520 total days in space, that's more than any other NASA astronaut. He also holds the NASA record for most consecutive days in space.
Reid Binion has more.


  --REPORTER PKG-AS FOLLOWS--
(NASA Broadcast)  "Scott Kelly, back on Mother Earth after 340 days in space."
ASTRONAUT SCOTT KELLY, RETURNING TO EARTH AFTER NEARLY A YEAR ON THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION...
...THE LONGEST PERIOD OF TIME ANY AMERICAN HAS SPENT IN SPACE.
(Scot Kelly/Astronaut)  "Always bitter sweet when you leave this incredible place"
KELLY DESCENDED INTO THE KAZAKHSTAN DESERT ON THE SOYUZ SPACECRAFT....
...ALONG WITH TWO RUSSIAN COSMONAUTS...
HIS MISSION INCLUDED A BATTERY OF TESTS ON THE EFFECTS OF ZERO-GRAVITY ON THE HUMAN BODY...
...AND KELLY WAS A UNIQUE RESEARCH SUBJECT:
HIS TWIN BROTHER, ASTRONAUT MARK KELLY, WAS ON EARTH THE WHOLE TIME...
...ALLOWING SCIENTISTS TO COMPARE HOW THEIR NEARLY IDENTICAL BODIES ARE DIFFERENT...
...NOW THAT ONE OF THEM SPENT ALMOST 12 MONTHS ON THE SO-CALLED 'FINAL FRONTIER.'
SCOTT KELLY SHARED HIS MISSION WITH THE WORLD ...
...WITH THOUGHT PROVOKING OBSERVATIONS...
(Scot Kelly/Astronaut)  "The thin veil of the atmosphere on the [unintelligible] of the earth, I wouldn't say it looks unhealthy, but it definitely looks very, very fragile."
...AND AWE-INSPIRING IMAGES OF EARTH'S MAJESTY SEEN FROM OUTER-SPACE... SHARED ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
THAT UNIQUE BEAUTY - PERHAPS EXPLAINING KELLY'S SOMEWHAT MELANCHOLY TONE TOWARDS THE MISSION'S END.
(Scot Kelly/Astronaut)  "Leaving this amazing facility is going to be tough because I'll probably never see it again."
I'M REID BINION, REPORTING.


With his feet now firmly planted on earth, NASA is talking about astronaut Scott Kelly's almost year-long mission and it wasn't all just playing ping pong with weightless water droplets. While Kelly was aboard the ISS, he and other crew members completed more than 450 investigations. From crop growth to technology tests... to even journaling! Now, that's a lot of science!  NASA has begun to collect and analyze the data from all those tests -- to see what can be learned from Kelly's mission.

Now, Scott Kelly did many tests aboard the space station, but there are still many tests ahead for the astronaut -- down here on earth. One of the first tests happened to measure his height... And the results might surprise you!

Jeanne Moos explains.


  --REPORTER PKG-AS FOLLOWS--
IF YOUR ANSWER TO THIS....
Natsot from TV ad: "Do you wish you could grow taller?"
IS YES, YOU COULD TRY GROWTH SUPPLEMENTS...
Natsot: "You're guaranteed to grow taller by 2 to 6 inches."
OR EVEN...
natsot: "The body tractor."
"you can grow 3.7 cm taller."
OR YOU COULD DO WHAT COMMANDER SCOTT KELLY DID, GO TO SPACE FOR ALMOST A YEAR....
Natsot/NASA: "Scott Kelly back on Mother Earth."
KELLY ARRIVED BACK...
Natsot: clap as he leaves plane
AFTER GROWING ABOUT AN INCH AND A HALF.
(Dr. Jennifer Fogarty, NASA Human Research Program): "It's a phenomena called spinal elongation."
WITHOUT GRAVITY COMPRESSING THE VERTEBRAE, THE SPACE BETWEEN DISCS EXPANDS SLIGHTLY AND THE SPINE GETS LONGER. THE PHYSICAL IMPACT OF SPACE FLIGHT ON SCOTT KELLY IS BEING MEASURED AGAINST HIS TWIN, FORMER ASTRONAUT MARK KELLY.
Natsot: "My brother Mark."
(Dr. Jennifer Fogarty, NASA Human Research Program): "Theoretically he'd be taller than his brother and he's gonna use that for next couple of days. it actually goes away pretty quickly as he's re-exposed to gravity and he walks around."
HE'S ALREADY BACK TO HIS OLD SIZE.
SOMETIMES THE INCREASE IN AN ASTRONAUT'S HEIGHT EVEN REQUIRES NASA GO UP A SIZE IN SPACE SUIT. THOUGH THE GROWTH SPURT...
natsot music
DIDN'T PREVENT KELLY FROM DONNING A GORILLA SUIT IN SPACE.
WHEN ISAIAH THOMAS HEARD ABOUT THE SIZE INCREASE , THE CELTICS POINT GUARD TWEETED "I NEED TO GO TO SPACE ASAP. LOL"
(Jeanne Moos, New York): "Now if you think this is no big deal, hey a measley inch has become part of the Presidential debate."
(Sen. Marco Rubio, (R) Presidential Candidate): "He's always calling me Little Marco and I'll admit he's taller than me, he's like 6'2."
(Donald Trump, (R) Presidential Candidate): "Actually I'm 6'3" not 6'2".
AS FOR TESTING THE TWIN ASTRONAUTS, CARTOONIST ED HALL DEPICTED ONE YEAR EXPOSURE TO THE SILENCE OF SPACE VS ONE YEAR EXPOSURE TO A
PRESIDENTIAL RACE. IT'S ENOUGH TO MAKE YOU RACE BACK TO THE SPACE STATION.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN, NEW YORK


Now, Scott Kelly is back to normal height after having adjusted to gravity. But NASA will continue to study the twins to determine how long term space travel can affect muscles, organs such as the heart, and sensory skills.

That information will be used to help determine how humans might fare on a long trip to mars or other deep space expedition.

Instructional Links

Website Article: NASA, Astronaut Scott Kelly Returns Safely to Earth after One-Year Mission http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-astronaut-scott-kelly-returns-saf...

Website Article: Space.com, International Space Station: Facts, History & Tracking http://www.space.com/16748-international-space-station.html

Website Article: Nasa for Students, Living in Space http://www.nasa.gov/audience/forstudents/k-4/home/F_Living_in_Space.html

Youtube: NASA, Space to Ground: Historic Homecoming: 03/04/2016 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut9jfotstZg

Website Article: Smithsonian Teen Tribune: After a year in space, astronaut says he could do another http://tweentribune.com/article/tween56/after-year-space-astronaut-says-he-could-do-another/

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