The mission began in March this year, and it’s set to go on for another six months, so astronaut Scott Kelly details more of his life on the ISS that would hopefully help NASA better understand the long-term consequences of outer space on the human body.
The effects can potentially vary from muscle weakness, vision impairment, bones losing density, skin thinning and metabolism changes along with the possible neurological effects. While the novelty of being captured on the International Space Station (ISS) goes away with time, all that remains is the dull knowledge that astronauts are essentially trapped in one place.
Scott Kelly, at the age of 51 years old, has embarked upon the study along with Russian astronaut, Mikhail Kornienko, to remain for one full year in outer space, which is double the average time ever spent there by other members of NASA. The current record stands at 14 months, held by Valeri Polyakov, another Russian astronaut who had stayed on the Miri Space Station in the mid 1990s.
Kelly presents himself as an excellent subject not only because of his enthusiasm and amusing tweets, but also due to his twin brother, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, who will become the perfect standard to compare health on Earth and the effects of outer space on the human body. The purpose is to find how long exposure to both radiation and the simple matter of isolation would affect the astronaut by the year-long mission’s end.
In an interview broadcasted by NASA, Kelly offered some details about his current situation in the ISS, stating that the feels “pretty good overall”, though there are aspects of Earth that he dearly misses. Things such as family and friends are natural, along with the added benefit that most of us overlook of just going outside and getting fresh air.
The lighting, the smell, and everything else within the space station remains the same, day in and day out, according to Kelly. After 5 months, the bottom of their feet become sensitive due to the fact that they’re hardly used, even though he admits he has become more comfortable with the different way of moving around.
Kelly found that he is now able to focus better, and that he is continually adapting to the new environment, while stating that he is eager to see how the next six months will further change him. However, the astronauts states that he doesn’t believe any effects will be long term.
NASA has also released a few numbers to better paint the picture of Kelly’s space venture. During the year long excursion, the astronaut will drink 730 liters of recycled sweat and urine, produce nearly 180 pounds of waste, exercise for 700 hours, run for 648 miles, during which he will undergo a number of 383 experiments.
According to the space agency, Kelly will also see around 10,944 sunrises and sunsets (compared to the 648 we can see on Earth), and will be exposed to extensive amounts of radiation, equal to travelling from New York to Los Angeles by plane 5,250 times.
However, each experiment has in mind the manned mission to Mars, which will take an estimated 2 years in outer space for astronauts, to launch in the 2030s, and hopefully, Kelly’s contribution will offer useful and exceptional insight of life in space.
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